Sebastien Ogier has hailed his fourth consecutive Rallye Monte Carlo victory as one of his most difficult challenges in his WRC career after battling back from an off to take full advantage of a Thierry Neuville slip to seal the win.
After a mistake on SS3 dropped him almost a minute off the pace of Neuville, Ogier was able to recover and pounce when a small error on the final stage of day three saw the Hyundai Motorsport driver tumble out of contention.
In truth, the defending WRC champion was aided further when nearest rival and M-Sport Ford team-mate Ott Tanak suffered an engine problem late on which ultimately denied the British squad a historic 1-2 with Jari-Matti Latvala storming to second place for the returning Toyota.
After a rollercoaster event at the Monte, Ogier has remarked at M-Sport's ability to finish on a high given his limited testing time and is aiming to build about the result for the 2017 season.
“I feel really great. It always feels good to win at Rallye Monte-Carlo, but this year we had one of the most difficult challenges we have ever had,” Ogier said. “We had to contend with some really demanding conditions and also had a new car and a new team – it's really incredible.
“We joined the team only a month ago and have only had a couple of days in the car so far. Of course we know that anything can happen at this event, but I really thought that we would be lacking the necessary preparation to challenge for victory this weekend.
“To be on the top-step of the podium, I'm very happy and so happy for the whole team who really deserve this. We could never have won if they had not given us a good car, so congratulations to them. We still have some work to do, but we have started in the best possible way. I'm looking forward to the next events and there is nothing that does not allow me to be confident.”
The victory marked M-Sport Ford's first WRC win since 2012 while it extended Ogier's personal victory run at the Monte to four-in-a-row, counting the past three years with Volkswagen.