Loeb holds onto lead at Monte Carlo

Winning the first stage, and a strong performance in the second kept former World Champion Sebastien Loeb's chances afloat, taking home the overall lead on day one of the classic rally.

Loeb holds onto lead at Monte Carlo
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport
Ott Tanak, M-Sport Ford
Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica and Maciek Szczepaniak, Ford Fiesta WRC
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Ott Tanak and Molder Raigo, M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC

As if yesterday’s performance in the short shakedown wasn’t enough to tell his competitors who owns the road of Monte Carlo, Sebastien Loeb came back to hold the overall lead in tough conditions.

Currently, his lead is only 13.3 seconds after a little over 30 minutes racing, but his main competition is no slouch either.

Running right on Loeb’s heels is reigning World Champion Sebastien Ogier, who won the days second stage, beating Jari-Matti Latvala by ten seconds, while Loeb was 17 seconds adrift in third.

Tire choice is going to be key if the conditions continue, in true Monte Carlo fashion, going from dry tarmac to black ice, slush and snow.

“It was okay but a lot of gravel everywhere in every corner. I had a good tyre choice for the first stage but it wasn't the best for the second. I passed two cars in there - I'm not sure who they were,” Loeb told WRC.com.

“I said to Daniel (Elena) three kilometres before the end that it felt like we were stopped. The road was full of ice everywhere and it was very, very difficult. But I’m happy for this time.”

But at the end of the day, 13.3 seconds is the gap from Loeb to Ogier overall, with Latvala a little over a half minute behind.

Monte Carlo's classic weather conditions

The conditions were the topic of the day, even before the actual competition began as drivers discovered them in reconnaissance.

“Even the recce was a challenge,” Kris Meeke told WRC.com. “We had everything from dry tarmac, wet tarmac, patchy damp, black ice, ice, frost, slush, snow, fog and all within a few kilometres! It’s just a crazy rally.” 

Top five after day one

Rounding out the top five after today’s stages was Ott Tanak, who surprised himself with his performance, and Elfyn Evans, who came in 47 seconds behind Loeb on the day, with countryman Kris Meek coming in a few seconds back in 6th.

Tanak said he was happy to be that high on the charts after the first day.

“The grip was changing a lot. There was a lot of gravel on the road too. I have done a lot better than I was expecting. I enjoyed it,” he said.

Tough day for Kubica

One notable driver who had issues today was Robert Kubica, who finds himself towards the bottom of the charts after suffering a spin on the second leg of today’s stage.

“We spun, and when we were in reverse we lost the lights and the alternator I think. First I lost all lights then the car was switching on and off,” he said. ”We managed to reset it and get going - which is the main thing - but we lost a lot of time."

POS # DRIVER TIME DIFF PREV DIFF 1ST
1. 4 S. LOEB 30:08.2    
2. 1 S. OGIER 30:21.5 +13.3 +13.3
3. 2 J. LATVALA 30:44.3 +22.8 +36.1
4. 6 O. TANAK 30:46.8 +2.5 +38.6
5. 5 E. EVANS 30:55.6 +8.8 +47.4
6. 3 K. MEEKE 31:08.0 +12.4 +59.8
7. 9 A. MIKKELSEN 31:08.1 +0.1 +59.9
8. 7 T. NEUVILLE 31:15.0 +6.9 +1:06.8
9. 12 M. OSTBERG 31:16.9 +1.9 +1:08.7
10. 14 H. SOLBERG 31:25.8 +8.9 +1:17.6
shares
comments
Loeb wastes no time at Monte Carlo

Previous article

Loeb wastes no time at Monte Carlo

Next article

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena lead the Rallye Monte-Carlo!

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena lead the Rallye Monte-Carlo!
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021