Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier leads as Tanak hits trouble

Sebastien Ogier leads Thierry Neuville at the head of the Monte Carlo Rally order, but Ott Tanak dropped out of the fight on Friday afternoon after picking up a puncture.

Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier leads as Tanak hits trouble

Ogier, who is making his first World Rally Championship start since returning to the Citroen fold, started the afternoon loop 3.4 seconds behind Neuville and should have fallen further behind his rival on the icy Valdrome-Sigottier test.

But Neuville carried too much speed into a bend near the start of that stage and had to take to an escape road, which left him close to 20s behind Ogier at the first split.

The Hyundai driver was able to limit his time loss to two seconds to stage winner Ogier come the end of that run but, with more slick tyres at his disposal, Ogier hammered home his advantage on the following stage - the 14.94-mile Roussieux-Laborel test - to move into a lead of 14s.

Neuville - who profited from a bold tyre selection of his own in the morning - clawed back a huge chunk of that time by recording a second stage win of the weekend on the day's final stage but will start Saturday morning's loop two seconds behind six-time champion Ogier.

Toyota driver Tanak, whose team principal Tommi Makinen hit out at officials over stage issues in the morning, dropped away from the two leaders on the opening stage of the afternoon but held a comfortable third.

But the overnight leader then suffered a puncture on SS7 that he was forced to change on the stage, which cost him 2m20s and dropped him to seventh overall.

He was back up to speed on the day's final stage, finishing second to Neuville, but is more than 45s behind the M-Sport Ford Fiesta of Elfyn Evans, who holds sixth.

Tanak's tumble allowed Sebastien Loeb to briefly move into third when he claimed his second stage victory of the day on SS7 - the repeat run of Roussieux-Laborel, which he won in the morning - after once again opting for a generous selection of slicks.

But Loeb, making his first start in Hyundai colours, was only seventh fastest on the final stage of the afternoon and dropped back behind Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) and the Toyota Yaris of Jari-Matti Latvala.

Mikkelsen has an advantage of 7.4s over Latvala, while nine-time WRC champion Loeb is just 0.8s further back.

The final WRC car still running by the end of the afternoon loop was Kris Meeke's Toyota, but a wheel-rim issue on the penultimate stage cost him more than three minutes in one hit.

Meeke had worked his way up to sixth after the first stage of the loop, but the wheel issue dropped him out contention for a strong finish - the Northern Irishman is now more than three minutes behind seventh-placed Tanak.

M-Sport driver Pontus Tidemand retired after breaking a wishbone on SS6, while Citroen's second driver Esapekka Lappi broke his driveshaft and a wishbone of his own on the same stage and will restart on Saturday.

shares
comments
FIA responds to Makinen's "aggressive comments"
Previous article

FIA responds to Makinen's "aggressive comments"

Next article

Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier leads as Mikkelsen, Evans crash out

Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier leads as Mikkelsen, Evans crash out
Load comments
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021