Ogier takes his Monte Carlo triple
Look at the people who’ve won the Rallye Monte-Carlo three or more times – as Sébastien Ogier now has – and you see some of the greatest names in the history of rallying: Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Loeb. Ogier’s victory was… well, classic Ogier, with barely a missed beat as he calmly negotiated his way from his hometown of Gap all the way back to Monte Carlo.
People might talk about home advantage – one of the stages even passed along the route Ogier used to take to work back when he was a ski monitor – but Ogier’s shown enough class over the last few years for his rivals to know better than that.
Kris Meeke nearly steals the win
While Citroën’s Kris Meeke was nowhere to be seen during Sunday’s glitzy Monte Carlo podium ceremony, the Northern Irishman – who’ll only be competing at selected rounds this season as Citroën develop their 2017 car – came close to spoiling Ogier’s party.
After Ogier took the first stage win of the season, Meeke – with a three-year Citroën contract in his pocket and no championship to aim for – fought back and claimed the second to lead the rally overnight. The pair went toe-to-toe on Friday and Saturday’s stages until a cut through a right-hander saw Meeke rip the sump guard off his DS3 and damage his gearbox. But it was a tantalising look at the type of fight between the pair that we could be treated to next season – in fact, Ogier enjoyed it so much that he called VW to see if they could offer any help to Meeke…
Thierry Neuville re-finds his flow
Hyundai debuted its new i20 WRC at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, with Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville driving the car as Hayden Paddon stuck with the 2015-spec machine. Neuville would be the first to admit that he was in need of a good result in Monte Carlo after a tough previous season, and he showed just why Hyundai had put its faith in him with a strong drive to third, including a number of stage wins in tricky conditions despite still searching for the ideal set-up on his new car.