The ultimate favorite of the 91st Rally Monte-Carlo, Sébastien Ogier, took his 9th record win on Sunday at Col de Turini. In front of the reigning world champion, Finnish youngster Kalle Rovanperä who ended this 2023 edition in style by winning the Power Stage and taking five bonus points to launch his defending campaign in the World Rally Championship (WRC).
“It’s huge, it’s my rally, the one that made me dream. A victory here is priceless,” Ogier said as he climbed off the roof of his Toyota Yaris, at the end of SS18. “This is my 56th victory in the WRC, but it is the first for my co-driver Vincent Landais. He deserves it because he did a great job. It was a perfect weekend”, added the new record holder for wins in a Rally Monte-Carlo, welcomed by his parents at the finish of this last stage.
The final podium of this rally, with Ogier and Rovanperä (Toyota Gazoo Racing) followed by Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Motorsport), perfectly reflects the way this completely dry event took place, on asphalt roads where the only notable traps, in some stages, were rocks detached from the road banks by the passage of numerous competitors.
The first three avoided all the pitfalls and the others did what they could, confronted to punctures, power steering failures, hybrid system issues, bad tire choices. They all experienced ups and downs, in all classes of the standings, in the purest tradition of Rally Monte-Carlo.
In the final standings, behind the Ogier-Rovanperä-Neuville trio, the honors were taken by Elfyn Evans (4th) in another Toyota, Ott Tänak (5th) in the M-Sport team’s fastest hybrid Ford Fiesta, and Takamoto Katsuta (6th), also in a Toyota, who was delayed by an untimely puncture in SS18.
In WRC2, Russia’s Nikolay Gryazin (Skoda Fabia), who races under the banner of his national Automobile Club, resisted Yohan Rossel (Citroën C3) until the end. In this high-level class, the podium was completed by Spaniard Pepe Lopez (Hyundai i20N).
Power Stage (ES/SS 18, Col de Turini) :
1. Rovanperä (Toyota) 5 pts
2. Tänak (M-Sport Ford) 4 pts
3. Evans (Toyota) 3 pts
4. Neuville (Hyundai) 2 pts
5. Ogier (Toyota) 1 pt