89th Rallye Monte-Carlo
18 - 24 January 2021
Highlight SS 9: Ogier faster and back in the lead!
Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) was back in his favourite position, leading Rally Monte-Carlo, Saturday morning, after clocking the best time in Stage 9, around 7 am, and showing who is the boss again this year. The best of his rivals, his Welsh team-mate Elfyn Evans, had to concede 17 seconds over 18.31 km of this SS9 between La Bréole and Selonnet, so one second per km, in average. In the Vallée de la Blanche, the dark night and the slippery conditions (-3°C at the start) did not trouble the 7-time World Champion, although « we had the impression of not having studs at all », Ogier said at the finish line. The Frenchman is still, more than ever, the huge favourite to win the Monte-Carlo of the 110th anniversary, with two more stages to manage on Saturday (SS10, SS11) and a 10-second advantage on Evans, before hitting the road for Monaco. Behind Ogier and Evans, the gaps are growing fast since Ott Tänak, who was 3rd Friday night, has lost big at the beginning of Stage 9: a spin in a hairpin, a rock, a puncture and then most of the stage done without a tyre on his front left wheel, losing one minute and 20 seconds on Ogier. This allows Kalle Rovanperä, the young Finn and 3rd Toyota driver, to get back to the 3rd spot, but over one minute behind Ogier and battling with Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), the winner last year. Game on !