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Rallye Monte-Carlo: Ogier into Monte lead after Neuville heartbreak

Thierry Neuville plummets to 15th after a crash on the final Rallye Monte Carlo stage of the day, lifting Sebastien Ogier into the lead.
Sebastien Ogier is the new leader of the Rallye Monte Carlo after long-time front runner Thierry Neuville crashed on the last of Saturday's treacherous stages.

Neuville had opened up his lead to 50secs over Ogier after four of the day's five stages, only to slide off on the final Bayons test and damage the right-rear suspension on his Hyundai i20 Coupe. He would eventually get going at a loss of 32mins, dropping him to 15th.

A heart-breaking moment for the Belgian, who has largely dominated from the start, Neuville's misfortune plays into the hands of four-time champion Ogier, who is now just four stages away from clinching victory on his debut with M-Sport Ford.

Indeed, the turnaround puts Ford in a remarkable position with Ott Tanak well placed to make it a 1-2 for M-Sport Ford, who have not won a WRC event since the 2012 Rally GB.

It also stands to benefit series returnees Toyota, with Jari-Matti Latvala now up to third place in the Yaris and set to make it onto the podium, particularly as his formerly closest rival Dani Sordo compounded Hyundai's SS13 misery by suffering a power steering failure.

The Spaniard reached the end of the stage but is back behind Craig Breen in fifth, the Irishman doing a fine job in fourth in the previous generation Citroen DS3.

A third stage win of the day on SS13 – the first successes for a DMACK-shod car on asphalt – spurred Elfyn Evans on to a charge into what is now sixth, though he is still more than three minutes behind Sordo ahead.

Andreas Mikkelsen continues to lead WRC2 by a wide margin, more than three minutes ahead of Skoda team-mate Jan Kopecky and third place man Bryan Bouffier in the Gemini Ford.

Elsewhere, Stephane Lefebvre is climbing up the order and is up to 11th now following his day one issues, while Juho Hanninen and Kris Meeke got in important data for their respective Yaris and C3 entries with competitive stage showings.



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motorsportpaul

January 21, 2017 10:12 PM

I for one would love to see an M-sport 1-2. Malcolm Wilson has tried harder than anyone to succeed in the WRC and would so massively deserve it along with his team. He lives and breathes the WRC and has hung in there against massive adversity it has to be said over all his career as a team principle. I'm also delighted that he finally got a Seb to drive his car! which have always been highly competitive cars just not always the drivers to show it. Good luck Malcolm!!



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