Friday 20 January 2017

Rally - Monte Day 2

Pundits reckons this is a 'proper' Monte Carlo Rally with snow, ice, and - black ice. Even on studded tyres, grip is something to be hoped for, not relied upon.

Fifth at the overnight halt, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle moved into second place after the day's first stage, SS3. However, the crew slid off the road on the next stage on sheet ice. With their suspension broken, they were unable to go any further.

A disappointed Meeke said: "The conditions were difficult, as is often the case in Monte-Carlo. Some corners were covered with a layer of sheet ice and it was difficult to judge the level of grip. I got caught out on a left-hand corner. The car drifted towards the outside and the right-hand side of the car hit a bank. With the front suspension arm broken, we couldn't go any further. It was disappointing for me and for the team. This is obviously not the sort of start we were hoping to make. Clearly, we can no longer aim for a good result, but we'll keep going tomorrow to try and learn more about the C3 WRC."

Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville capitalised on a mistake from four-time world champion Sébastien Ogier to build a strong lead during Friday’s second leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo, but already Ogier was on the case charging back up the leaderboard.

During the day, Neuville twice stalled his car’s engine, but the second incident in the final stage proved the most costly. “We lost the turbo boost in the engine. I stopped in a hairpin and didn’t press the reset button. I drove for about 500 metres before remembering to reset the system,” he said.

Ogier lost more than 40sec after sliding into a ditch at little more than walking pace and beaching his Fiesta. He plunged to eighth, more than 70sec adrift of Neuville, before the fightback over the day's final two tests.

Kris Meeke was Neuville’s closest pursuer until he slid off with Ott Tänak taking up the pursuit after setting fastest time in the opening stage until Ogier slipped by.

Jari-Matti Latvala was top Toyota Yaris driver in fourth following the retirement of team-mate Juho Hänninen who crashed out of third when he hit a tree. Latvala’s day was not without problems. His car refused to start in parc ferme and he later spun in the final stage ending the day 1min 24.3sec behind Tänak.

Dani Sordo and Craig Breen were closely matched all day. Sordo’s i20 Coupe stalled several times under braking for hairpins, while Breen survived two spins and a close call at the same point as Hänninen crashed.

Leaderboard after Day 2:

1. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2:05:24.6
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +45.1
3. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +45.4
4. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:09.7
5. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2:57.8
6. Craig Breen / Scott Martin (Citroen DS3 WRC) +3:04.1
7. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Škoda Fabia R5) +5:50.8
8. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +8:12.1
9. Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia R5) +8:22.4
10. Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5) +8:38.2

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