Monte Carlo WRC: Neuville tops first shakedown of 2018
Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville started the 2018 WRC season with the fastest time in shakedown ahead of the Monte Carlo Rally.
The Belgian won Wednesday afternoon's shakedown stage with a fastest time of 2m00.2s, edging teammate Dani Sordo by a tenth of a second.
Neuville, who won the final round of the 2017 season in Australia and was runner-up overall last year, was pleased with his pace on the all-dry two-mile asphalt test just outside Gap.
“Shakedown went well,” said Neuville. “The set-up is good, I’m very confident we have a good setting from a good test and, to be honest, the car is pretty similar to last year, so yes I’m feeling pretty confident.”
Toyota new boy Ott Tanak was third quickest in the Yaris WRC, four tenths of a second down on Sordo.
“I am struggling to complain with the car from shakedown, I felt really good with it," said the Estonian. "It’s nice to drive, but I still have a lot to learn.”
Briton Kris Meeke was fourth for Citroen, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) and the second Yaris of Jari-Matti Latvala.
Defending world champion and local hero Sebastien Ogier was seventh quickest, immediately ahead of his M-Sport Ford teammate Elfyn Evans.
The only shakedown drama involved the British team’s third driver Bryan Bouffier, who has been forced to change co-driver following a crash.
Jerome Degout, who aggravated a neck injury in the incident, has been replaced by Xavier Panseri, who is fresh from acting as Khalid Al Qassimi's navigator in the Dakar Rally.
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