Seb Ogier ahead of Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä: Toyota Gazoo Racing started Day 2 of the 91st Rally Monte-Carlo on a high, by setting the three best times of a completely dry SS3 over 18.33km between Roure, Roubion and Beuil. The eight-time World Champion added 3.2 seconds to the tally of the Welshman and 6.1 to his credit on the young Finn, and reigning world champion. A good way to show who remains the WRC boss … when he comes to play around, between two family obligations across the Rhine.
This morning, Ogier had left the port of Monaco with three Pirelli Soft tires and two Super Soft, a choice linked to the quota of tires available for the entire rally: “The truth is that we don’t have so many Soft tires for the whole rally (20 Soft and 24 Super Soft to compete in 18 special stages), so we can’t take too many on board. In the end, we don’t need to have one more”, Ogier explained after his third win in as many stages since Thursday evening in Col de Turini.
Behind the trio of Toyota drivers, the gaps continued to widen, with Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Motorsport) in one of his favorite roles: best of the others, 4th at 7.8 seconds of Ogier, ahead of both M-Sport Ford drivers, Ott Tänak, the 2019 World Champion, 5th at eight seconds, and Pierre-Louis Loubet, very focused for his debut in the “Monte” in a hybrid WRC, only two tenths behind his team leader. Very promising.
With regards to the particularly tough WRC2 field, battle resumed on Friday morning between Russia’s Nikolay Gryazin (Skoda Fabia), racing under a neutral flag, and two Frenchmen, Yohan Rossel and Stéphane Lefebvre, embarked in a couple of Citroën C3 Rally2. After SS3, Gryazin is 17.6 seconds ahead of Rossel and holds a 21.6 advantage over Lefebvre.