The life and times of a motoring and motor rallying journalist in Scotland
Sunday, 22 January 2017
Rally - Strike 1 for Seb
Sébastien Ogier claimed his fifth Monte-Carlo victory and his first for his new
team scoring M-Sport World Rally Team's
first win since November 2012.
Jari-Matti Latvala finished second in a Toyota Yaris on the Japanese
manufacturer’s return to the WRC after a 17-year absence. Final day engine
problems for Ott Tänak denied M-Sport a one-two as he slipped to third place.
Ogier took the lead late on Saturday’s penultimate leg when rally leader
Thierry Neuville broke his Hyundai i20 Coupe’s suspension after an impact.
With a comfortable gap, Ogier took no risks through the final snow-hit speed
test over the famous Col de Turini.
“I was hoping to win but to take it from the first rally, after only one month
together and with so little preparation, feels really amazing,” he said. “The
conditions didn’t make our life easy this weekend, starting first in the snow
on day one and finishing with more and more snow.”
Latvala struggled to find a good rhythm initially but changes to his car’s
set-up revitalised the Finn.
Third overnight became second when Ott Tänak dropped time with a broken
ignition coil pack in his Fiesta and Latvala sped by.
With no service, Estonian Tänak worked furiously to make repairs and did enough
to hold onto third, fending off Dani Sordo’s i20 Coupe with a spirited downhill
drive to the finish of the last special stage in falling snow.
Craig Breen finished fifth in a Citroën DS 3, commenting: "The conditions were unbelievably difficult. I guess that's why the Col de
Turini has become such an iconic test! I did wonder whether or not to go with
the snow tyres for the final test, but I kept the slicks and it became more and
more difficult the further we went on the stage. But we managed to make it to
the end and stay in the top five, which is a great result."
Elfyn Evans completing the top six in another Fiesta. The Welshman struggled for grip in the early stages, but as
soon as the conditions became more consistent, he and Daniel Barritt were
unstoppable. Securing more stage wins that anyone else throughout Saturday’s
running, Evans set the fastest time on three out of a possible five speed tests
and was untouchable through the second pass of ‘La Batie Montsaleon – Faye’
(SS12) – 7.4 seconds faster than his nearest rival.
And the final word? Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:“I
can’t put into words the feeling in the team right now. It’s been five years
since we have stood on the top step of the podium and I can tell you that it’s
a feeling we want to continue.Once again, we have won on our debut with a new car
and I think that just goes to prove the high level of expertise we have in this
company. You just have to look at the performance of all three drivers –
Sébastien, Ott and Elfyn all securing stage wins.We have got a
great base car in the Ford Fiesta WRC. We know that we’ve still got a lot of
work to do, but we’ve certainly got something good to work with. Again, I
cannot praise the team enough. This result is down to their hard work and
dedication. Each and every one of them – here on event and back home at Dovenby
Hall – should be extremely proud of what we have achieved this weekend.”
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford
Fiesta WRC) 4:00:03.6
2. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:15.0 3. Ott Tänak / Martin
Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:57.8
4. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai 120 Coupe WRC) +3:35.8
5. Craig Breen / Scott Martin (Citroen DS3 WRC) +3:47.8 6. Elfyn Evans / Daniel
Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6:45.0
7. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Škoda Fabia R5) +9:32.7
8. Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5) +12:58.1
9. Stéphane Lefebvre / Gabin Moreau (Citroen C3 WRC) +14:43.8
10. Bryan Bouffier / Denis Giraudet (Ford Fiesta R5) +16:09.