Sebastian Ogier took a comfortable win in Rallye Monte Carlo ahead of Ott Tanak to start his 2018 campaign in the best possible way
Ogier had lead from the first day and had been in a fight with Tanak’s Toyota through much of the event, his lead fluctuating as the rally wore on. The reigning champion then topped SS14 on Sunday and proceeded to beat Tanak over the next couple of changes, meaning that he would now have to crash or endure mechanical failure to lose the lead of the rally. Tanak decided to settle for second place and bag some great points on his debut for Toyota,
Toyota had been set for a 2-3-4 finish with Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi following Tanak. Latvala took third but Lappi ran wide into a snow bank and gave himself a puncture, ending his hopes of a podium and allowing others to move up the order, including Kris Meeke who very happily took fourth place from Lappi, and a strong result after a rather tricky weekend for Citroen in Monte Carlo. Latvala’s run to third place was thus comfortable and he had no dramas on the way to his podium finish.
Thierry Neuville managed to take fifth spot and a solid result for Hyundai after what looked set to be a completely miserable event. An error by Neuville on the very first stage on Thursday effectively ended his victory bid and even though Andreas Mikklesen and Dani Sordo were both in podium positions at some points of the rally, both dropped down the order thanks to reliability and mistakes. Sordo retired on Saturday after running off the course and Mikklesen returned under WRC 2 rules following alternator issues on Friday. thus Neuville’s fifth was Hyundai’s only major result after rally that promised so much for the team with potentially the fastest car in the field.