Day 4: Tough rally ends with more stage success
The 2017 WRC season-opener offered a thrilling finale on Sunday lunchtime with our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars playing a starring role.
Putting the disappointment of Saturday behind them, our two crews Dani/Marc and Thierry/Nicolas were immediately back on the pace, adding two more stage wins to our total.
One of those stages was the legendary Power Stage, which was held in increasingly snowy conditions. Including a pass through the famous Col de Turini summit, the wintry weather made life complicated for the drivers as they each fought for the five extra Championship points up for grabs.
Running second on the road, it was Thierry and Nicolas who set the quickest time, pushing hard throughout the 21.36km stage with an impressive drive. Dani and Marc were forced to contest with more slippery terrain on their run but did enough to secure the final Power Stage point and claim fourth overall on the classification.
Thierry and Nicolas were arguably the stars of the weekend. At one point leading by over one minute, it was a small incident on Saturday afternoon that lost them the chance for victory. Taking Power Stage honours was small reward for the crew after a difficult event for our team.
We wanted to push hard in the Power Stage and to pick up some points, said Thierry. When we could see the snow was falling, we knew it would be tricky but thankfully we did enough. Its a consolation for what we missed out on this weekend.
Dani and Marc claimed their first stage win of 2017 on Sundays opening SS14 (Luceram Col St. Roch) meaning we leave Monte-Carlo with a total of seven stage wins from a possible 15. The result helped our Spaniards in their fight for fourth place.
The stage win was good for the confidence and we were able to close the gap to Breen, said Dani. There wasnt much between us going into the Power Stage but the conditions were really terrible in the mountains. Unbelievable! All we could do was minimise the time loss and thankfully it was enough.
There are plenty of positives from Monte-Carlo as we have shown our new car to be a genuine contender against some formidable opposition.
Our Team Principal Michel summarised: Monte-Carlo never fails to entertain, but this has been an exciting start to the season. We may not have the result we wanted, but we were able to take something out of the weekend. We have seen some positive trends from the cars performance level, which is the result of efforts by our team, who have worked tirelessly on this project.
Both crews have also been quick to praise the efforts of our team.
I would like to say thanks to the whole team for a super job, said Thierry. The i20 Coupe WRC is fantastic to drive and offers us genuine promise for the season.
The next round of the championship will see even more wintry conditions as we tackle the snowy stages of Rally Sweden from 9-12 February. Michel is already sure it will be a season to remember! It has been a joy to see such global support of WRC. With three different manufacturers inside the top-four in Monte-Carlo, the 2017 season is set to be a classic.
1. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 4:00:03.6
2. J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:15.0
3. O. Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:57.8
4 D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3:35.8
5. C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën DS3 WRC) +3:47.8
6. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6:45.0
7. A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (koda Fabia R5) +9:32.7
8. J. Kopecky / P. Dresler (koda Fabia R5) +12:58.1
9. S. Lefebvre / G. Moreau (Citroën C3 WRC) +14:43.8
10. B. Bouffier / D. Giraudet (Ford Fiesta R5) +16:09.4
15. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +30:52.5
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers Standings
After Round 1
1. S. Ogier 25
2. J.M Latvala 18
3 O. Tanak 15
4 D. Sordo 13
5 C. Breen 10
6. E. Evans 10
7. A. Mikkelsen 6
8. S. Lefebvre 6
9 T. Neuville 5
10 J. Kopecky 4
11. J. Hänninen 3
12. B. Bouffier 1
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers Standings
After Round 1
1. M-Sport World Rally Team 40
2. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 24
3. Hyundai Motorsport 20
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 10