Rallye Monte-Carlo Pace Report

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Thierry Neuville winner of Rallye Monte Carlo

Rallye Monte-Carlo Recap

Rallye Monte-Carlo had two high profile surprises in store. Sebastien Ogier, the master of Monte did not win a seventh in a row. Secondly, the reigning world champion, Ott Tanak, did not finish at all.

Thierry Neuville however, had a clinically clean rally and despite having to come from behind won with a clear margin in the end. Sebastien Ogier just edged out his teammate Elfyn Evans to second in a fight that all three on the podium had won and lost the lead at some point.

Nearly three minutes behind, Esapekka Lappi was best of the rest finishing a minute clear of Kalle Rovanpera. Both were gifted a position by a slowing Sebastien Loeb.

Takamoto Katsuta finished well in 7th ahead of Teemu Suninen who lost 10 minutes to restart rules.

Ott Tanak had a monstrous off very early on in his Hyundai career. A high-speed roll off a cliff was a great concern to those watching live, and no doubt to the world champion himself who may just change his outlook on the season.

See the full results at wrc.com.

Overall Rallye Monte-Carlo classifications for WRC starters.
Overall WRC Classifications at Rallye Monte-Carlo

Tyre Choices

Rallye Monte-Carlo has a variety of tyres for the drivers to choose from. There are the usual tarmac supersoft and softs but also a choice of studded and non-studded snow/ice tyres. The info below is via Michelin, but does not say which 4 tyres are on the car. Drivers are also known to rotate the tyres between stages too. These choices sometimes differ a lot, so it’s worth considering when looking at times.

Rallye Monte Carlo Tyre Choices per loop
Tyre choices for each driver for each loop. Fastest drivers each loop are highlighted in green.

Stand Out Performances

Biggest Stage Win

Thierry Neuville – SS2 Bayons – Bréziers: Neuville destroyed the opposition and had the nerve to say he wasn’t risking anything. He took 25 seconds out of the next best time. To give some idea of conditions on the stage, Ott Tanak said he was lucky to be alive after finishing with a time nearly half a minute behind Neuville. There probably won’t be a bigger stage win this season.

Pace analysis for each WRC driver.
WRC Pace Analysis

Sunday mornings stages were also good for Thierry but it could be argued his rivals were saving tyres, even if they were in the fight for the lead. In other rallies, Elfyn Evans’ win on SS10 could also be praised as being huge, but taking 1s/km over 25km in the dark on Monte is just incredible and well worthy of praise for the eventual rally winner.

Fastest Stage

The opening stage in the dark was fastest at an average 105.99kph for winner Sebastien Ogier. Like Monte, it won’t be the fastest of the season on any surface but indicates how the rally is not known for it’s speed but it’s technicality, tactical choices and need for experience.

Firstly Finish Award

Kalle Rovanpera had a clean and consistent rally and gained the most where others did not. He should have finished 8th but came in at 5th where others lost time. A debut season of results like that will not be so bad.

Time lost at Rallye Monte-Carlo 2020
Time lost to scratch times at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Rallye Monte-Carlo Pace Report Cards

T. Neuville & N. Gilsoul / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: 1st
  • Time: 3:10:57.6
  • Expected Classification (xC): 1st
  • Average Pace: +0.206s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.35%
  • Stage Wins: 9/16
  • Points: 30/30
  • Power Stage: 1st
  • Best Pace: Absolutely stormed SS2 and won by 1s/km (25s) on the next best time. Bear in mind he won the rally by 12.6s and third place was 14.3s. He aced Sunday too to lift him from that 3rd to the clear winner. 9 stage wins, one of which was the Power Stage and always close on others.
  • Notable Time Loss: Had a weaker but not disastrous Friday due to confidence in his weather crew notes. After clearing apparent translation issues it shows the difference and importance these crews make. Did have a moment caught on camera on the same icy bend that ruined Greensmith’s rally, but only cost a skipped heartbeat. No surprise then that SS3 was his worst stage.

S. Ogier & J. Ingrassia / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: 2nd
  • Time: 3:11:10.2 (+0:00:12.6)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 2nd
  • Average Pace: +0.247s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.22%
  • Stage Wins: 3/16
  • Points: 22
  • Power Stage: 2nd
  • Best Pace: Very strong all rally, his strongest loop was Friday PM with two scratch times to go with the opening stage win. Very clean and risk-free drive, but fortune favoured the brave.
  • Notable Time Loss: Just could not match the pace of Neuville on SS2 and Sunday. Wasn’t entirely happy with tyre performance on Sunday with no change. Only lost the Power Stage win by 16 one-thousandths of a second. So perhaps should just retire now then?

E. Evans & S. Martin / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: 3rd
  • Time: 3:11:11.9 (+0:00:14.3)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 3rd
  • Average Pace: +0.253s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.20%
  • Stage Wins: 4/16
  • Points: 17
  • Power Stage: 4th
  • Best Pace: Very similar to his team mate Ogier and set an extra scratch. Won all of Friday morning’s stages and quoted the team’s tyre choice strategy. Won the rally of Friday and Saturday. Traded the lead a few times but was pipped.
  • Notable Time Loss: Had a couple of ditch moments but no major time losses. Stuggled for grip and ‘the click’ on Sunday.

E. Lappi & J. Ferm / M-Sport Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: 4th
  • Time: 3:14:06.6 (+0:03:09.0)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 5th
  • Average Pace: +0.827s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 97.38%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 13
  • Power Stage: 5th
  • Best Pace: Saturday afternoon was his best loop and generally got more comfortable in the new car over the weekend.
  • Notable Time Loss: Lost a lot of time on the opening two stages caused by leaves blocking the air intake at the front of the car. Typically self-deprecating at times criticising his own driving abilities.
Analysis of stage pace at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
WRC analysis of stage times.

K. Rovanperä & J. Halttunen / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: 5th
  • Time: 3:15:14.8 (+0:04:17.2)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 8th
  • Average Pace: +1.051s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 96.67%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 10
  • Power Stage: 6th
  • Best Pace: Consistent all rally, Friday being his best day.
  • Notable Time Loss: None. For a first WRC outing at Monte and as the so called 3rd driver, consistency and the finish is key. Although Monte is an atypical rally, with fewer cars in this year’s WRC perhaps this is indicative of Kalle’s approach this season.

S. Loeb & D. Elena / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: 6th
  • Time: 3:16:02.3 (+0:05:04.7)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 6th
  • Average Pace: +1.207s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 96.17%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 8
  • Power Stage: 21st
  • Best Pace: Second on SS3 when others struggled.
  • Notable Time Loss: Not the performance many expected of the great Sebastien Loeb. At a minimum he should have cruised to 4th but a poor Saturday and truly dreadful Sunday gave two positions away. The only driver to take only supersofts on Sunday, destroyed them early and lost time massively later on. This was a choice that damaged his reputation, particularly that of being a tyre choice master and multiple time winner of Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Analysis of loop pace at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Analysis of WRC pace over the full day loops. (Times are for completed stages)

T. Katsuta & D. Barritt / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: 7th
  • Time: 3:22:25.5 (+0:11:27.9)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 9th
  • Average Pace: +2.467s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 92.18%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 6
  • Power Stage: 7th
  • Best Pace: Sunday was his best day, even when compared to flying Neuville. Consistent otherwise.
  • Notable Time Loss: Had a spin on SS9 and had to stop to clear snow from the front of the car. Wasn’t as strong in the dark of SS2.

T. Suninen & J. Lehtinen / M-Sport Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: 8th
  • Time: 3:24:28.0 (+0:13:30.4)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 7th
  • Average Pace: +0.980s/km (Completed Stages)
  • Rally Time Rating: 90.91%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 7
  • Power Stage: 3rd
  • Retirements: 1 – Mechanical SS2
  • Best Pace: Had an OK rally bearing in mind it was ruined on the opening stages and had little reason to risk afterwards. Would have finished 4th if time lost on the Thursday is removed.
  • Notable Time Loss: Had the same issues as Lappi on the Thursday and retired on SS2 with ‘transmission’ issues.

D. Jocius & V. Mindaugas / M-Sport Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: 17th
  • Time: 3:35:17.5 (+0:24:19.9)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 25th
  • Average Pace: +5.004s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 84.14%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 0
  • Power Stage: 26th
  • Best Pace: Finished every KM and every loop at about the +5s mark. Finished more 2020 rallies than the reigning world champion.
  • Notable Time Loss: Please. Living the dream like many of us would.

G. Greensmith & E. Edmondson / M-Sport Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: 63rd
  • Time: 4:38:15.1 (+1:27:17.5)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 10th
  • Average Pace: +2.355s/km (Completed Stages)
  • Rally Time Rating: 0%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 0
  • Power Stage: DNS
  • Retirements: 1 – Off Road SS3
  • Best Pace: Saturday morning under restart rules with no reason to risk.
  • Notable Time Loss: Twice a victim, firstly for the same issues his Fiesta teammates had on Thursday followed by an embarrassing off on SS3. New restart rules cost 10 minutes per stage missed so lost an hour on Friday. Missed the unique to Rallye Monte-Carlo Saturday night cut, so did not take part on Sunday. Only completed 75km of stages with a well car.

O. Tänak & M. Järveoja / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: DNF
  • Time: DNF
  • Expected Classification (xC): 4th
  • Average Pace: +0.583s/km (Completed Stages)
  • Rally Time Rating: 0%
  • Stage Wins: 0/16
  • Points: 0
  • Power Stage: DNS
  • Retirements: 1 – Off Road SS4
  • Best Pace: Was looking good on each day’s opening stage.
  • Notable Time Loss: Obviously that high speed crash…

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