Section: Monte Carlo

WRC: Ogier wins Rally Monte Carlo

In four days of varying conditions, it was the reigning champion that came out on top.

Sebastien Ogier is the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo champion, taking home the win over Jari-Matti Latvala by just about one minute.

Interestingly enough, Ogier only won 2 stages of the 15 specials that the drivers tackled over this four-day season opening event.

“Victory in Monte-Carlo means a lot – especially for me, so close to my home town, and at the first rally of the season. It’s a huge challenge but the satisfaction is even more when you make it. Conditions were so tricky this year, but it has been the best atmosphere of a rally I have ever known,” Ogier told WRC.com.

Latvala, who was unable to win a single stage of the 15 on the rally, ended up second overall, and while he never saw the front of the pack he is happy with the result in tough condition.

“I’m delighted. This is much more than I expected, before the rally I was thinking fourth or fifth. I must thank my ice crew for their information,” said Latvala.

Loeb’s bad luck
Despite ending the day eighth, rally legend Sebastien Loeb said he was happy with his performance after his suspension failure on day 2.

“It was great. Okay, disappointed because of the mistake, but I had some pleasure. I enjoyed the rally, a great atmosphere and great to be here.”

While 8th is nothing to write home again, Loeb can go home with the satisfaction of knowing that he won the most stages of the rally.

Right behind him in stage wins, with 4, was Robert Kubica. The pole was flying on the roads of Monte Carlo, but inconsistency and numerous minor mistakes caused the former F1 driver to retire before the final stage with damage.

Kris Meeke, who drove past Kubica’s stopped car on the penultimate stage said “He went off after the finish. I stopped and spoke to him, he said he lost the brake pedal on the finish. He has gone into a wall.”

Rounding out the top five was Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Ostberg and German Thierry Neuville.

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WRC: Ogier holds lead heading into final day in Monte Carlo

The VW driver drove cautiously today, in tough conditions.

It’s not unusual to see rain, sleet, slush, snow and dry tarmac all in the same stage at Rally Monte Carlo.

So, when you start a leg with an almost 2 minute lead, you certainly drive cautiously in those conditions.

And that is just what reigning champion Sebastien Ogier did, giving up over one minute in an effort to manage the tough conditions over today’s 4 stages.

“We were safe with our tire choices today and I was very slow on every icy part. My studded tires weren’t the fastest option, but they were the safest for the snowy section in the final stage. I had nothing to risk by trying to drive quickly,” Ogier told WRC.com

Volkswagen currently holds 1-2-3 in the rally, with Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen now 42 seconds and another minute behind respectively.

Robert Kubica showed his speed this weekend outright winning the first stage of the day, after the scheduled first stage was cancelled for safety reasons.

Nothing special – just driving,” he said. “We had good tires (super-softs), but the conditions were very tricky. Our gravel crew did a very good job. I think I have driven nicely.”

Early leader and former world champion Sebastien Loeb is 9 minutes adrift from the leaders, struggling with the conditions like much of the rest of the field.

“We tried to use the slicks to see how it was. I had to be very careful in the middle bit. Not my best stage,” Loeb said.

Loeb’s teammate, Kris Meeke was fast on the day but his early rally issues have relegated him to the tenth spot overall. Meeke won the last stage, 8.5 seconds from Robert Kubica.

“We tried the crossover combination of 2 studded and 2 super softs. I had a spin and lost 10 or 12 seconds – I could have been faster,” Meeke told WRC.com.

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WRC: Ogier leads, Loeb breaks in Monte Carlo

Sebastien Loeb will have a long way to battle back after a suspension part issue on the sixth and final stage of the day in Monte Carlo.

One-minute, 45 seconds is the gap from the reigning WRC World Champion Sebastien Ogier to Jari-Matti Latvala after 8 stages and two days of competition.

Again today, fickle weather made tire choice key, but Ogier said while he didnt have the right tire choice, he made it to the end of the stage.

“I had no idea that I was in the lead. Let’s wait and see. The tyres were not ideal for here, but it’s all I had,” he told WRC. com

The reason for his confusion was rally leader Sebastien Loeb’s drop of over 5 minutes in the final stage of the day.

Incidents all around

Rolling past the flying finish with ratchet straps holding parts of the car together on the rear end of his Citroen DS3, Loeb said the suspension broke after contact with a rock on the stage.

“It happened when I hit – a little bit – a rock in an icy place. Not too hard, but it broke – I don’t know exactly what – but something is wrong. I had to try really hard because I knew with the road conditions it was impossible in this (road) position, so I tried really hard with a different tyre choice and did a mistake. Will it get back to service? I will try.”

Ironically, Loeb’s Citroen team mate who had the best position to make the Citroen effort for a win two-fold, also fell out of contention in a very similar fashion to Loeb, but it is not expected that the Brit will be bale to limp his machine to service.

Lastly, while he made it to the end of the day, Robert Kubica had two major offs during the final stages of the day. The two incidents send Kubica down the running order.

“We had a massive moment at high speed. We went off, and thanks to the spectators we got back, then later at a junction we went off again, slid on the snow, hit a tree and punctured the tyre. We drove 10km like that,” he said.

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WRC: Loeb wastes no time at Monte Carlo

Sebastien Loeb found himself at the top of the charts after today’s shakedown at Rally Monte Carlo.

It’s only a slim margin, but Sebastien Loeb showed the racing world why he is one of the best.

More than 450 days since his last competitive ride in a WRC car, the Frenchman stuck his Citroen DS 3 on the top of the charts at the Rally Monte Carlo shakedown, a whole 0.4 s in front of team mate Kris Meeke.

“It’s not a bad way to come back to WRC. I immediately felt comfortable in the car but this won’t be an easy rally. The weather forecast looks tricky and so my low position in the road order could be an advantage or a disadvantage,” Loeb told WRC.com

Rounding out the top five on the short shakedown stage was last year’s world champion Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and Robert Kubica, all within 2 seconds of the lead.

The shakedown special stage was held on a 3.5 km at Chateauvieux.

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