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SS10: it's all square between both Sebs!
19 April 2024

SS10: it’s all square between both Sebs!

Two Frenchmen, two multiple world champions, two exceptional drivers, the two Sébastiens who wrote the recent legend of WRC (17 world crowns between them since 2004) are sharing the lead of the 90th Monte-Carlo Rally, Saturday morning at the end of SS10, a 17 km long asphalt ribbon between Saint-Jeannet and Malijai. And Toyota again monopolized the three best times in this stage as fast as bumpy, but in a different order from SS9: Ogier ahead of Evans and the young Rovanperä, while Loeb had to settle for 4th time, losing 6.5 seconds on Ogier.

Provisional assessment: Ogier and Loeb are all square after the first ten stages, Evans 3rd at 9.3 seconds, and all the others far behind. To spice it all up, SS11 (Saint-Geniez-Thoard, 20 km) promised to be thrilling, with many very slippery portions, snowy or icy, on the northern portions of famous Col de Fontbelle (1304 m).

The two Sebs, who set off this morning with super-soft tyres, were not completely satisfied with the behaviour of their respective cars, the Toyota Yaris and the Ford Puma, with the added bonus of difficulties, at times, in managing the new hybrid mode and its additional 100 hp. They are bearing the brunt of a new era of the WRC, but they do so with all the experience accumulated over more than ten years, twenty years even for Loeb, who was already competing in Monte-Carlo in 2001.

In the chasing group, relegated at more than one minute in the general classification, the best placed to hope for a possible podium, in the event of a hitch for the leading trio, is now Irishman Craig Breen, 4th in his Puma entered by Malcolm Wilson’s M -Sport team. He really liked this SS10 because he thought it looked a lot like the roads of his native Ireland, with “lots of bumps”. As for Thierry Neuville (5th), he encountered a problem with his Hyundai and said he was a little worried: “Something broke, I don’t know what…” revealed the Belgian, a 5-time vice-world champion between 2013 and 2019.

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