Sepp Wiegand secured a place in history on the opening event of the new World Rally Championship after wrapping up the first victory in the WRC2 class on Rallye Monte Carlo.
The Skoda Auto Deutschland driver came through the challenging event unscathed to take class honours by more than eight minutes over the Subaru Impreza of fellow German Armin Kremer.
Such was the level of attrition amongst the leading WRC runners on a dramatic final day, Wiegand also secured an overall points finish after taking the finish in eighth place.
“An incredibly difficult rally and an incredible success!” he said. “I never even dared to dream about such an excellent result before my first appearance at the Monte.”
There was disappointment however for fellow Skoda driver Esapekka Lappi, who was forced out after hitting a rock on stage two – with no chance to return to action given that Monte Carlo doesn't make us of the Rally2 regulations.
“It is a big disappointment, because we won stage one and we felt really good,” he said. “However, we had to stop in stage two due to the consequences of a small collision with a rock. Considering the hard work put in by all the team members, we are so sorry about this outcome!
“We had a completely different idea about the start to this season, but we will certainly do our best to make up for this failure at the next event. We took a team training session here in Monte Carlo that should help us.”