24 January 2016

Third victory in a row for Ogier and Ingrassia in Monte-Carlo Rally

Read more

24 January 2016

Ogier clear in Monte after Meeke's demise

Read more

22 January 2016

Ogier leads thrilling Monte-Carlo duel

Read more

22 January 2016

Meeke hits the front at Rallye Monte-Carlo

Read more

Third victory in a row for Ogier and Ingrassia in Monte-Carlo Rally

24 January 2016

Ogier clear in Monte after Meeke's demise

24 January 2016

Ogier leads thrilling Monte-Carlo duel

22 January 2016

Meeke hits the front at Rallye Monte-Carlo

22 January 2016

Third victory in a row for Ogier and Ingrassia in Monte-Carlo Rally

The French crew joined an exclusive club of drivers to have won the legendary event, the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, three times in a row. Only Sandro Munari, Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen and Sébastien Loeb have done likewise.

Ogier, who was born in the rally base of Gap, was greeted by his parents at the finish of the final speed test in the mountains above Monaco to celebrate a 1min 54.5sec victory in his Volkswagen Polo R.

Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen finished second with Thierry Neuville overcoming transmission troubles to secure a debut podium for Hyundai’s new-specification i20, a further 1min 23.4sec back.

“This rally is the most important of the season for me and it’s so emotional to win here for a third time,” said Ogier. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a kid. To win such a difficult rally three times in a row is fantastic, and a real team effort from everyone.”

Ogier and Kris Meeke swapped the lead on several occasions during the first two days on mountain roads in the French Alps that ranged from clear asphalt to snow and ice. Ogier edged clear in yesterday’s third leg and the outcome was decided when Meeke damaged his gearbox after hitting a rock and retired.

Ogier eased through the final leg, which included the famous Col de Turini, one of the highlights of the WRC season, and ensured maximum points from the first of the 14 rounds by also winning the final live TV Power Stage.

Norwegian Mikkelsen survived a high-speed spin on Friday to start the final leg 12.5sec ahead of Neuville. But a broken propshaft bearing troubled the Belgian all day and he limped through the final stage with only two-wheel drive.

Mads Østberg finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta RS on his return to the M-Sport squad, ahead of Stéphane Lefebvre, for whom fifth was a career-best result. Dani Sordo overcame handling and suspension problems to complete the top six in another i20.

Ott Tänak finished seventh, despite rolling on Friday, with WRC 2 winner Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi and Armin Kremer completing the top 10.

Broken suspension sidelined Jari-Matti Latvala and Bryan Bouffier while Robert Kubica and Eric Camilli both retired after accidents.

Ogier clear in Monte after Meeke’s demise

SÉBASTIEN OGIER WILL START SUNDAY’S FINAL LEG OF RALLYE MONTE-CARLO WITH A NEAR TWO-MINUTE LEAD AFTER HIS TWO CLOSEST CHALLENGERS RETIRED DURING A DRAMATIC SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN THE FRENCH ALPS.

Although the Frenchman won only one of today’s five speed tests near Gap, he journeyed south to Monaco with a 1min 59.7sec advantage over Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. Thierry Neuville was 12.5sec back in third.

Kris Meeke, who twice demoted Ogier from the lead in an exciting opening two legs, retired from second. The Briton hit debris in the penultimate test, holing the sump guard on his DS 3 and damaging the gearbox.

“It’s a shame for Kris as he was very fast this weekend and we had to produce a big performance to stay ahead of him,” said Polo R driver Ogier. “It was an exciting fight. Now it’s a different rally for me, I just have to concentrate on getting to the finish.”

Third-placed Jari-Matti Latvala slid into a ditch in SS11 and broke the front left suspension arm on his Polo R. He made repairs after the test but had no chance of checking in at the next control in time and called a halt.

There is no Rally 2 service facility available in Monaco tonight and so neither Meeke nor Latvala will restart tomorrow.

Mikkelsen dropped over a minute after a bad tyre choice this morning but recovered to head Neuville by more than a minute. However, the Belgian’s inspired selection of winter tyres for the final two stages ensured victory in both in Hyundai’s new-specification i20 and he closed in.

Modified suspension settings provided a better feeling for Neuville on the slippery and bumpy sections after a difficult opening two days.

Mads Østberg steered clear of trouble to hold fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS, the Norwegian still fine-tuning his pace note relationship with new co-driver Ola Fløene. He is 2min 13.7sec behind Neuville and more than three minutes clear of Stéphane Lefebvre’s DS 3.

Lefebvre twice spun but headed Bryan Bouffier in sixth before the last stage. However, Bouffier broke the rear left suspension arm on his Ford Fiesta RS and used a ratchet strap to try to hold it together before embarking on the long liaison section to Monaco. He later retired.

Ott Tänak ended the day sixth ahead of Dani Sordo, who lost six minutes with damaged suspension in the opening stage. WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans, Armin Kremer and Esapekka Lappi completed the leaderboard

Sunday’s final leg contains three stages covering 45.50km. Two passes over the 12.07km Col de L’Orme – St Laurent sandwich the 21.35km test from La Bollene Vesubie to Peira Cava.

Ogier leads thrilling Monte-Carlo duel

SÉBASTIEN OGIER LED RALLYE MONTE-CARLO AFTER FRIDAY’S SECOND LEG FOLLOWING AN ENTHRALLING FIGHT WITH KRIS MEEKE IN WHICH THE LEAD CHANGED HANDS THREE TIMES.

The triple world champion was 9.5sec clear of the Briton after gaining the upper hand in the last of six special stages on mountain and valley roads in the French Alps near Gap, a handful of kilometres from his childhood home. “It was exciting to have a great battle with Kris. It wasn’t such a bad day, just a small mistake this morning when I touched a bridge and a slow puncture on the left rear in the final stage,” said the Volkswagen Polo R driver.

After trailing Meeke by 6.9sec overnight, Ogier regained the initiative in this morning’s final stage. However, the Citroën DS 3 pilot was back ahead after the penultimate test only to succumb to a super finale from Ogier, who claimed the last win by more than nine seconds. “There must be something in that stage that Seb knows!” joked Meeke, who won two stages to Ogier’s four. “I think he lives about 3km from there, so I’m happy to give him that one.”

Andreas Mikkelsen was third until a high-speed spin in the penultimate stage cost a place and knocked his confidence. He ended 25.7sec behind Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who enjoyed a clean run after last night’s suspension issues. Latvala was almost a minute adrift of Meeke.

Thierry Neuville struggled with handling problems in Hyundai’s new-specification i20 due to suspension that was too soft. However, the Belgian was inside the top five all day, ending 14.0sec behind Mikkelsen.
Mads Østberg was sixth, the Norwegian admitting it was taking time to settle with new co-driver Ola Fløene. A deflated Dani Sordo was seventh, the Spaniard ill at ease with his i20.

A broken anti-roll bar and an unscheduled trip into a field failed to disrupt Stéphane Lefebvre en route to eighth. Bryan Bouffier was ninth, despite hitting a tree in the penultimate stage, and Ott Tänak was tenth after rolling his Ford Fiesta RS.

Bright sunshine and midday temperatures of 6˚C meant the roads were mainly ice free and tyre choice was relatively simple. However, patchy ice caught out Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon, who retired in the opening stage. Kubica slid into a tree and Paddon broke his i20’s suspension after swiping the same obstacle.

Eric Camilli crashed his Fiesta RS out of eighth on his World Rally Car debut and Lorenzo Bertelli also stopped after hitting a wall. Camilli will not restart tomorrow due to roll cage damage.
Tomorrow is the longest day with 173.96km packed into five stages. It includes two passes through the marathon 51.55km test from Lardier et Valenca to Faye and the classic Sisteron, before competitors journey south to Monaco.

Meeke hits the front at Rallye Monte-Carlo

BRITAIN’S KRIS MEEKE WILL GO INTO THE SECOND DAY OF RALLYE MONTE-CARLO WITH A SLENDER LEAD AFTER EMERGING FROM THURSDAY NIGHT’S OPENING BRACE OF STAGES WITH A 6.9S ADVANTAGE.

The Abu Dhabi Total Team driver was beaten to the fastest time on the opening test by reigning world champion and local hero Sébastien Ogier.

But Meeke was in determined mood and hit back on SS2. He eclipsed his VW-driving rival by a staggering 11s through the 20.38km test and that was enough to give him his first stage win of the season and a welcome overnight lead. “Everything feels good,” Meeke beamed.

Ogier meanwhile, rued his cautious approach on the last five kilometres of SS2 where the road was covered in snow and ice. But he wasn’t about to panic. “I’m happy to be here. This is just the beginning of the rally,” he pointed out.

VW team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen kept out of trouble and was happy to fill third place at the end of the second stage, while Thierry Neuville – driving Hyundai’s new-for-2016 i20 WRC – was fourth, albeit 31.4s off Meeke’s benchmark pace.

Jari-Matti Latvala had held fourth after the opening stage but he hit trouble –literally – on SS2 and dropped to seventh at the end of the leg.

“I hit something on the first proper icy section,” he explained. “The car started to slide so I hit full throttle. I think we tagged a bridge or something and I was worried we might have damaged the rear suspension. We took it easy after that.”

Fifth place belonged to Hayden Paddon at the end of the leg. The fast-improving Kiwi was using the event to further develop his driving skills aboard last year’s Hyundai i20 WRC and he held a narrow 0.4s advantage over Mads Østberg after SS2.

The Norwegian was reacquainting himself with the M-Sport World Rally Team’s Fiesta, but the road conditions were hardly making it easy. “When you do a stage like this it’s impossible to judge the speed,” he said after SS2. “You find grip in some places and then it’s gone in others.”

Celebrities and WRC stars launch 2016 season

SPORT AND ENTERTAINMENT CELEBRITIES JOINED THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STARS TO OPEN THE 2016 SEASON AT A SPECTACULAR LAUNCH IN MONTE-CARLO

Guests enjoyed high-speed World Rally Car passenger rides around the harbour area of Monaco’s famous Grand Prix street circuit after a reception at the Hôtel de Paris in Casino Square.
The stunning Casino later provided the backdrop as the 90 competitors in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the oldest event in the WRC calendar, were flagged away for four days of flat-out action on treacherous mountain roads in the French Alps. Entertainment celebrities who attended included Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, French Danse avec les stars winner Katrina Patchett and Danny Jones from chart-topping British pop-rock bands McFly and McBusted. From the world of sport, tennis Grand Slam winner Caroline Wozniacki (pictured above), ex-soccer stars Thomas Helmer, Jean-Pierre Papin and Jari Litmanen, French World Cup rugby player Damien Chouly, race walker and world record holder Yohann Diniz and double Olympic gold medallist skier Pernilla Wiberg were also present.
The event was organised by WRC Promoter and Rallye Monte-Carlo organiser Automobile Club de Monaco.