2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo: Meeke retired, Ogier alone on the top
Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen Motorsport) remained in the lead after third day of the 2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo. He will start Sunday’s fist stage with two-minute advantage ahead of his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, so we can assume that the reigning world champion will achieve his fourth win at Monte-Carlo.
Gearbox failure stopped Kris Meeke
Ogier started the day with 10s advantage ahead of Kris Meeke and during four stages he increased the lead to 29 seconds. Ogier was the fastest on the first run through 55-km Stage 9 (Lardier at Valenca – Faye), while Meeke was the fastest on the second pass through the same stage. On special stages 10 and 12 the fastest drivers were Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville. Soon after the special stages, some drama ensued.
Meeke finished the Stage 12, but the gearbox failure stopped his Citroen DS3 WRC on the road section after the stage. Even Sebastien Ogier tried to help him to resolve the problem, but unsuccessfully, so Meeke had to retire.
Latvala damaged the suspension and hit a spectator
After Meeke’s retirement Ogier had 2m17s advantage ahead of Mikkelsen, and he decided to drive carefully. Thierry Neuville was the fastest on the last stage of the day and he grabbed third place overall, just 12 seconds behind Mikkelsen.
One more major player who retired is Jari-Matti Latvala. He went a little off road on the Stage 11, while he was third overall. He finished the stage with damaged suspension on Volkswagen Polo and it was impossible for him to go further. In the stage accident Latvala hit a spectator, but luckily without serious consequences.
Mikkelsen’s was good in tyre-gambling
Lots of drivers had problems with slippery and icy roads. Because of changeable conditions the tyre choice was a real gamble, as usual in Monaco. The best proof how the right tyre choice can be decisive is the 17-km long Stage 10, on which Andreas Mikkelsen dominated with four studded tyres with 44 seconds to spare in front of Ogier, who had a combination of tyres.
So, after 13 stages and with three more to go, Sebastien Ogier is alone on the top, Mikkelsen and Neuville will fight for second place, while other drivers will try to reach the finish line without problems. Mads Ostberg (Ford) is fourth, two minutes behind Neuville and three minutes ahead of the fifth placed Stephane Lefebvre (Citroen). Ott Tanak (Ford), Dani Sordo (Hyundai), Elfyn Evans (Ford), Armin Kremer (Škoda) and Esapekka Lappi (Škoda) completed in the Top 10.
Complete results of Rallye Monte-Carlo are at SnapLap result pages.