© Red Bull Content Pool Jaanus Ree
It is one of the classic stages of Rally Monte-Carlo, between Malijai and Puimichel, very close to Digne-les-Bains, and it is also “the closest stage to Gap and the area where I live, so there were lots of fans, thanks for the support”, said Sébastien Ogier after setting the best time in SS10 (17.31km), “a very nice old-school stage, with a lot of bumps”, added the eight-time World Champion.
This was already his 7th stage win out of 10 in this 91st edition, in front of a host of spectators, in full sun, cooled down by the icy wind. Ogier managed it with a very small margin, four tenths of a second quicker than Elfyn Evans and 1.1 second better than Kalle Rovanperä, who had just clocked the best time in SS9.
This was also another 1-2-3 for Toyota Gazoo Racing in this rally, ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Motorsport).
Again 4th in raw performance, the Belgian driver is more than ever in search of another podium in the WRC, for lack of anything better. He remains 3rd overall and does everything he can to contain Evans, who was delayed Friday morning by a puncture. The Welshman is only 19.1 seconds behind and he has eight stages left to complete a possible Toyota treble in the Principality.
At M-Sport Ford, the worries continue. Just like Pierre-Louis Loubet on Friday, Ott Tänak had a major power steering failure at km 3 in this SS10. He will have to fight all day in order to fix the issue tonight in Monaco, and then try to save a few points on Sunday.