Ogier’s WRC Monte Carlo Rally lead narrows as Rovanpera places on a cost
Sebastien Ogier moved a step nearer to a record-breaking ninth Monte Carlo Rally victory after producing one other faultless drive within the French Alps on Saturday. However a cost by his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate and reigning WRC champ Kalle Rovanpera means it’s not fairly a executed cope with Sunday’s ultimate leg nonetheless forward.
Having constructed up a sizeable benefit of greater than a half minute on Friday, Ogier’s attentions switched to steer preservation in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 because the FIA World Rally Championship’s Monaco-based season opener headed into the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence for six asphalt levels totaling 69.46 aggressive miles.
With Saturday’s operating order based mostly on reverse rally classification, the eight-time WRC champ needed to deal with essentially the most polluted street circumstances as gravel, rocks and dirt have been swept onto the levels by these operating increased up the sector.
Ogier, who solely drives a part-program for Toyota as he continues to discover a sports activities automotive racing profession path, took a vigilant method. He was in no temper for threat taking and determined to not repeat final 12 months’s disappointment, the place a pointy rock brought on a late puncture which put the brakes on his victory bid.
However on account of his warning, the 39-year-old Frenchman noticed his buffer greater than halved by charging GR Yaris colleague Rovanpera. He heads into Sunday’s ultimate leg 16.0s clear on the prime.
Rovanpera’s extra aggressive type lower into his teammate’s lead: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT picture
Ogier is assured he has sufficient time in hand however, with 4 treacherous levels nonetheless remaining, something might occur. Victory right here would put him clear on the prime of the Monte Carlo Rally roll of honor, beating the eight-win file he at the moment shares with outdated foe Sebastien Loeb.
“I feel (the lead) needs to be sufficient,” stated Ogier. “The final stage right now was essentially the most harmful one for punctures, so I took it simple and I’m blissful that stage is over now.”
WRC champ Rovanpera began strongly and gained two of the morning’s three levels to place a ways between himself and Hyundai i20 N Rally1 ace Thierry Neuville.
Neuville responded by claiming two quickest instances himself, however a giant push from Rovanpera within the darkness of Ubraye–Entrevaux left Belgian Neuville anchored in third, 16.0s adrift of his Finnish rival.
Neuville gained on Rovanpera on a few levels bust nonetheless ended the day a distant third. Jaanus Ree/Crimson Bull Content material Pool
Elfyn Evans made it three Toyotas within the prime 4 with a strong comeback drive following his Friday puncture. The Welshman leapfrogged M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tanak within the day’s second stage and by no means strayed exterior the top-three instances for every of the remaining 4 checks, ending 24.5s off Neuville on the leaderboard.
For M-Sport Ford returnee Tanak there have been emotions of each reduction and disappointment after a technical fault left his Puma Rally1 with heavier steering than regular.
Though it left him unable to place up a battle towards Evans, the flipside of Tanak’s concern was that the facility steering didn’t fail fully — one thing he would have been dreading as there was no mid-leg service on the schedule.
Technical points hampered Tanaka, however the Ford driver continues to be on the case. M-Sport picture
Toyota rising star Takamoto Katsuta climbed to sixth general after leapfrogging Hyundai’s Dani Sordo on the primary run from Le Fugeret to Thorame-Haute. Sordo, who now holds seventh general, continued to really feel puzzled by the shortage of competitiveness in his stage instances.
Eighth-placed Esapekka Lappi made in a single day setup tweaks and felt rather more comfy together with his new i20 N. A rear-right puncture on the day’s fourth stage was a minor supply of frustration however, importantly, didn’t have an effect on his general place within the standings.
In WRC2, the second tier of worldwide rallying, Nikolay Gryazin continued to press forward — however his laborious work very practically got here undone with a giant drama on Saturday’s ultimate check.
One other faultless drive allowed the 25-year-old Toksport WRT Skoda Fabia RS driver to stretch his benefit within the class to greater than 45 seconds heading into the day’s ultimate check, an evening run by means of Ubraye-Entrevaux. However a front-right puncture round 4 miles from the tip of the stage noticed Gryazin’s lead sliced to only 15.2s over Citroen C3 driver Yohan Rossel, organising an exciting ultimate day.
“I used to be attempting to keep away from all of the cuts and the rocks, however we nonetheless bought it,” defined a annoyed Gryazin.
Warning didn’t repay for Gryazin who misplaced time to a lower tire, however he nonetheless continues to paved the way in WRC2. Jaanus Ree/Crimson Bull Content material Pool
Sunday’s ultimate leg returns to the Alpes-Maritimes for 4 levels including as much as 42.18 aggressive miles. The acquainted Luceram/Lantosque stage opens proceedings and is adopted by a re-run of La Bollene-Vesubie/Col de Turini, which crews have already pushed in darkness on Thursday night. Each levels are repeated as soon as once more, with the latter forming the rally-closing Wolf Energy Stage, the place bonus factors can be found.
WRC Monte Carlo Rally, main positions after Day Two, SS14
1 Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) 2h27m11.5s
2 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +16.0s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +32.0s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +56.5s
5 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1) +1m37.3s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +2m15.7s
7 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +3m08.8s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +3m11.4s
9 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2 chief) +8m06.1s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroen C3 – WRC2) +8m21.3s
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