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IRC: Peugeot locks out podium on Monte

Peugeot Sport set the standard on the 77th Rallye Monte Carlo this week, with Sebastien Ogier, Freddy Loix and Stephane Sarrazin monopolising all three steps on the podium.

Before today, Peugeot's last Monte Carlo victory dated back to Ari Vatanen's success with the 205 Turbo 16 in 1985.

Furthermore despite more recent bids with the 206 WRC and the 307 WRC, the French carmaker failed to resume its winning ways in the Principality until this week's triumph with the 207 Super 2000, which has emerged as the car to beat in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge

Speaking at the finish, Peugeot Sport director, OIivier Quesnel was delighted with the result.

"Twenty-four years after Ari Vatanen's win with the 205 Turbo T16 in 1985, Peugeot has succeeded in securing an emphatic one-two-three finish at the end of what has been a memorable 2009 Rallye Monte-Carlo,” he stated.

“We couldn't have wished for a better confidence booster for everyone at Peugeot Sport before they refocus on their priority objective this season, which is the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“The Peugeot 207 Super 2000 has once again shown itself to be incredibly competitive and reliable. And we mustn't forget the capital roles played by Kronos Racing, whose cars finished first and second, and by BFGoodrich whose tyres performed perfectly in the difficult conditions."

Freddy Loix meanwhile, who took the runners-up spot, added that it was one of the most difficult Monte's he has ever done. He was happy with second however, as it puts him in a strong position in the provisional IRC standings, as Ogier has no plans to contest the rest of the series.

"That was the toughest Rallye Monte-Carlo I have ever contested, if only because of the weather which threw snow, ice, frost and rain at us,” he explained. “I have never competed with such wide snow tyres either, and the stages were particularly treacherous. The slightest mistake could easily cost 20 seconds, so it was vital to keep out of trouble.

“Everything went reasonably well for us over the three days, although we knew there was no way we would be able to catch Sébastien after we dropped two minutes with a puncture.

“After that, we concentrated on defending second place which is a good result for us in championship terms."


Related Pictures

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Freddy Loix / Isidoor Smets - Peugeot Team Belux 207 S2000. Rallye Monte Carlo January 20-24 2009 [Pic credit: IRC].

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