WRC Rallye Monte Carlo: Ogier continues to lead

Sebastien Ogier heads back to the mid-day service on day three of WRC Rallye Monte Carlo with a 1 minute 4.9 second advantage over Jari-Matti Latvala – losing 40.5s after taking it cautiously through SS10; Andreas Mikkelsen remains third, but Ott Tanak drops back, losing over 18 minutes after an off...
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier remains in the lead of Rallye Monte Carlo following Saturday morning's abridged loop, which saw Ott Tanak go off and former F1 driver Robert Kubica set another quickest stage time.

Ogier went into day three with a commanding 1 minute 45.4 second advantage and with SS9 cancelled on safety grounds, competitors had just one test to tackle before the mid-day service, the 51.70 km Lardier et Valenca-Faye test – the longest of the event. Conditions remained tricky and as such Ogier opted for caution, completing the stage a massive 1m 49.5s slower than Kubica – the Pole putting in a superb time - and 40.5s slower than team-mate and nearest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala.

“Everything is okay,” Ogier remarked at the end of SS10. “We were very safe with the tyre choice.”

“I was very careful on every icy section,” added Ogier, who now heads back to the mid-day halt 1m 4.9s up on Latvala.

“I do not understand how Ogier was so much slower,” Latvala conceded. “I spun in there at the beginning. I have to say it was very difficult and the grip levels were changing. I was afraid I would lose a minute or so.

“It was a challenging stage.”

Behind, Andreas Mikkelsen also took it carefully and remains third, 44.5s further back, with Citroen's Mads Ostberg now fourth after Ott Tanak went off the road and got stuck in a ditch. He lost over 18 minutes as a result and now drops right down.

“We slid off the road. I'm obviously really disappointed because we managed all of the difficult parts with the snow and ice without any drama," Tanak lamented.

"It was just one fast corner and there was some gravel on the road which we weren't expecting. There was no time to correct and we went off. I need to say a big thanks to the spectators who helped us because without them there would have been no chance of getting the car back on the road.”

Meanwhile, M-Sport Elfyn Evans completes the top five with Dani Sordo sixth and ahead of Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville.

“On the whole it was a good stage [SS10]," Evans said. "We were maybe a little too careful in the snow and ice but we went pretty hard where the conditions were good and I felt really comfortable in the car. It would be nice to have some more clear road like that but that might be asking for a bit too much at this rally!

“We went with four soft tyres in the stage. We had two studded tyres as an option but we decided not to fit them and I think that was correct. It was a fairly clear cut decision at the time when the temperature was quite mild and the sun was out, but when you're in service with reports of five kilometres of snow and ice it's not easy!”

Martin Prokop, Henning Solberg and WRC2 class leader Stephane Lefebvre fill positions 8 through to 10, then comes Martin Koci, Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke, the latter two both re-starting under Rally 2 this morning.

The leg now continues this afternoon. SS11, the 19.93km Prunieres-Embrun 2 test – which was canned this morning – is currently scheduled to start at 13.55 hours local time [12.55 hours UK time].

2015 Rallye Monte Carlo: Overall standings after Stage 10 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2h 24m 38.8s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +1m 04.9s M
3. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +1m 49.4s M
4. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2m 28.1s M
5. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 35.9s M
6. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +3m 22.3s M
7. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +3m 38.5s M
8. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m 22.5s M
9. Henning Solberg M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +8m 31.0s
10. Stephane Lefebvre Citroen DS3 R5 +8m 49.6s WRC2


11. Martin Koci Ford Fiesta R5 +8m 56.3s WRC2
12. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +08m 59.7s M
13. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +10m 46.2s M
14. Armin Kremer Skoda Fabia S2000 +11m 13.7s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 10 (Top 3):

1. Stephane Lefebvre Citroen DS3 R5 2h 33m 28.4s WRC2
2. Martin Koci Ford Fiesta R5 +6.7s WRC2
3. Armin Kremer Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m 24.1s WRC2

Notable retirements#:

SS1/SS2. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 WRC Suspension M*
SS2. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off
SS2. Robert Kubica RK WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Electrical issues M*

SS8. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Suspension damage M**
SS8. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Suspension damage M**

M denotes Manufacturer entry

*denotes re-started under Rally 2 on Friday
**denotes re-started under Rally 2 on Saturday

# Unlike in previous years, crews will be authorised to rejoin under Rally 2 rules at Rallye Monte Carlo but only on the first two days. Any crews that retire during Saturday's leg will not be entitled to rejoin the rally on Sunday.

all times unofficial
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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