Ogier Sebastien has won the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo season opener, the former VW driver and reigning World Champion now aims to repeat his world rally supremacy with his new team, Ford M-Sport. His former teammate Latvala Jari-Matti finished second for Toyota, giving the Japanese car maker their first WRC podium win in 17 years. Third went to Ogier’s teammate Tanak Ott in the other Ford Fiesta RS which was running second until an engine failure rocked their campaign today.
The 2017 World Rally Championship has newer cars pushing up to 380hp in the manufacturer class, comprising of Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Citroen. All four of them showed instant performance, the cars are faster and louder. Gentlemen running cars from the earlier season are now classified in WRC2, here you find Mikkelsen Andreas who now drives a Skoda Fabia R5. Mikkelsen was faster from day 1 and his consistency paid off as he won the class and ultimately finished in P7 overall. Skoda won a double podium in this class.
Hyundai had an early lead in the rally, Neuville Thierry had led since day one until yesterday when a slow left corner determined his fate. The Hyundai i20 WRC broke its left rear suspension forcing him to limp to the finish. Ogier was second all along, no one could match Neuville’s pace at that time but the Ford driver continued to trim bits of time until the Hyundai lost its pace.
Ford thus assumed a 1-2 positioned heading to the final day, one stage had to be cancelled today due to safety reasons after spectators came out in larger numbers than expected. Tanak followed Ogier, but a last minute engine failure left him running with only two cylinders. Latvala thus grabbed second, staying in this position till chequered flag. If anything, the ex-VW drivers have only proven it’s not just the car but the skills too after driving very ably.
Neuville won the final TV Power Stage to claim full points, he finished in 15th place. Dani Sordo stayed well within the top 5 throughout the rally and finished 4th for Hyundai. He was the only Hyundai driver to run an almost clean rally, Hayden Paddon retired after rolling on stage 1. Elsewhere, Breen Craig gave Citroen the best finish by taking fifth place.
Original published at "gtspirit" website.