View the Rallye Monte-Carlo 2019 Pace Report.
Rally Monte Carlo Headlines
- Sebastien Ogier near flawless and wise
- Ott Tanak strong but cannot match Ogier
- Thierry Neuville lost a certain podium on Stage 1
- No luck for Breen / Breen doesn’t make own luck
- Lappi’s first WRC Monte has pace but not sustained
- Typical Rally Monte Carlo weather plays a vital part
Ogier Takes Early Lead to Podium
Sebastien Ogier lead Rally Monte Carlo from start to finish with a fine display of how to manage a worthy lead. He won Thursday evening’s first stage despite a small spin, largely due to other drivers having larger moments on the treacherous patches of ice. A very strong Friday pace put him in a great lead only threatened by Ott Tanak. Ogier fortunately managed to hold that lead when a dip in concentration trapped him in a ditch and had to be rescued by spectators. Tanak could not capitalise.
Friday’s lead meant Ogier was in the best place to deal with the snow that covered Saturday mornings stages. By the time he took to the road on stage 9, nine other cars had ploughed it for him whilst having a terrible time. Only Mikkelsen could set a faster time, albeit starting after Ogier under Rally 2 having retired with a car issue on stage 4. Ogier showed how smart a winner has to be at maintaining a managed pace. When Ott Tanak got close after stage 13, Seb responded by winning Sunday’s opening Stage 14. Without risking it all on the Power Stage, Seb cruised to a season opening win.
Neuville Loses Certain Podium
Thierry Neuville’s hopes were hampered with a spin on the opening stage he struggled to recover from. A slide on the ice into a deep ditch left him with a metaphorical mountain to climb. Though showing strong pace on Friday he only lifted two places due more to the misfortunes of others. Second on the road for Saturday morning’s snow was not helpful though a very strong finish afterwards helped lift him to an finish of 5th place.
That spin on the opening stage cost Thierry a podium and a challenge with Sebastien for the win. Match his Stage 1 time with Mikkelsen and he would have ended Friday in the lead on the chart. He then wouldn’t have been second on the road on Saturday morning, and should have been able to put in a time similar to Andreas. His pace on Saturday afternoon and Sunday were close to flawless winning 4 of the last 7 stages. However we won’t know if he would have needed to push so hard, and if Ogier would have responded. He certainly would have stepped on the podium, but the win is arguable. What isn’t arguable however, is that he slid into a ditch on the opening stage.
The Other Stories
Craig Breen had the worst of Friday’s which put him in the worst of places on the road for Saturday. His only hope from then on was for others to fall out the rally. Dani Sordo obliged on the snow of Stage 9, sliding off the road into thick vegetation below and out of 3rd place overall. Esapekka Lappi could have battled Latvala for the third place that opened up but by Saturday lunchtime had lost too much time. Very strong times in the afternoon impressed many on his first Rally Monte Carlo outing in a WRC car. A performance marred by a poor Power Stage where an off lost him two places at the last minute. Kris Meeke couldn’t quite match the pace of the leading pack all rally, saving his best until last. He aced the Power Stage by 2.7 seconds, jumping up a place and collecting 5 valuable points.
Please note the charts I have prepared for these reviews have penalties added between the final stage and the overall time. This will be fixed before 2019!
If you enjoyed this review, you may enjoy my review of round two Rally Sweden, Rally Mexico or Tour de Corse. I will be sharing gPace charts for all of 2018’s WRC rallies in the run up to Monte Carlo 2019. Please let me know your thoughts, suggestions or errors either via the contact form or preferably on Twitter. If you enjoy WRC and love a good looking graph, there’s more to come along with the gPace reviews. I’d really appreciate if you subscribe, follow me on Twitter (new post alerts) or share with your friends.
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