WRC'16 Rally Monte Carlo - Jan21-24 talk/results spoiler**
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    Cool WRC'16 Rally Monte Carlo - Jan21-24 talk/results spoiler**



    Route

    After Thursday evening's Monte-Carlo start outside the Casino, two stages in darkness near Digne-les-Bains punctuate the run north to Gap.
    Three stages in the Hautes Alpes and Isere regions, north of Gap, form Friday's action.
    Competitors return to Monaco on Saturday via two passes of the marathon 51.55km Lardier et Valenca - Faye and the classic Sisteron - Thoard.
    Sunday's final leg, as is traditional, runs in the Alpes Maritimes mountains above Monaco and features the legendary Col de Turini.

    History

    Rallye Monte-Carlo is the WRC's jewel in the crown and the oldest in the calendar.
    First run in 1911, it was designed to promote Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination, with competitors starting from different European cities before gathering in Monaco.
    The 1966 rally became famed for its controversial outcome when giant-killing Mini Coopers claimed the top three places before being disqualified for alleged infringements of headlight regulations.

    What's new for 2016

    Each day includes a new stage compared to the 2015 rally.
    Friday's night's 20.23km Barles - Seyne test has never been run in this direction.
    Saturday's Saint Leger les Melezes - La Batie Neuve stage crosses the Ancelle ski slopes.
    Only the top 60 classified competitors will start Sunday's final leg.

    Don't miss

    Col de Turini. One of the sports iconic locations, where enormous crowds will gather to watch competitors cross the mountain summit in the La Bollene Vesubie - Peira Cava test in the final leg. An incredible atmosphere and a 'must-do' for visitors.
    Sunday's finish outside the Palace in Monaco, with monarch Prince Albert presenting the prizes.

    --------------------------------

    Meeke fastest at Monte shakedown



    Kris Meeke got his 2016 WRC campaign off to a great start in France this afternoon, setting fastest time at the Shakedown for this week's season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

    The Briton drove his DS 3 World Rally Car through the 3.3km stage near Gap in 2m07.2sec, two-tenths quicker than his closest rival, Volkswagen's defending world champion Sebastien Ogier. Dani Sordo was third, 3.4sec slower than Meeke in Hyundai's all-new i20 WRC.

    Mud was the major talking point of the session, during which the dry Tarmac quickly turned wet and slippery as cars dragged snow and slush from the verges.

    One of the first to tackle the stage, Meeke conceded that his start position had been an advantage for his winning run.

    "We were second or third in, and for sure a lot of mud was pulled out and the road got slower and slower," he told wrc.com. "Okay, in that sense it isn't a very representative stage, but I'm still happy because my second pass was quickest too - so even when the road was muddy the time was still good.

    "The most important thing is that the feeling was good. It's been too long since Rally GB and it's nice to get into the car against the clock again - to put the lids on and do a proper WRC shakedown. It's a confidence booster - and this rally is all about confidence."

    Mads Ostberg was ninth-fastest on his first rally back in M-Sport's Ford Fiesta RS and agreed with Meeke. "They were difficult conditions for sure. We started late for our first run and by then it was full mud. It was tricky, but good to do some runs to get used to the car," he said.

    With the temperature nudging 4C, drivers are bracing themselves for more mud as the ice and snow seen on the pre-event recce begins to thaw.

    "On the recce this road was basically clear with snow banks on either side but today it turned out to be a mud race," explained Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala. "From our position a long way down the start order we had no chance. This was quite extreme though - I don't expect we'll see anything quite this bad in the rally."

    Drivers will head to Monte-Carlo for Thursday's start ceremony before the first competitive stage, Entrevaux - Val de Chalvagne - Rouaine, begins at 2018hrs.

    click: wrc.com/monte-shakedown/


    ...

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    This years WRC liveries



    ------------------------------------

    Thursday evening:

    SS1 ENTREVAUX - VAL DE CHALVAGNE - ROUAINE (21.25 km)


    Sebastien Ogier got the defence of his World Rally Championship title off to a perfect start by topping the first stage time sheets at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

    The VW driver, who grew up in the mountains around Gap, was predictably the fastest through the 21.25km stage at Entrevaux-Rouaine to carve out an early 4.1s advantage.

    If any of the Frenchman’s rivals thought his haul of three drivers' titles in as many years would dampen his enthusiasm for more success, they were sadly mistaken. And even more galling was the fact the 33-year-old admitted he hadn’t pushed in the opening test.

    “I was very cautious,” he said. “The conditions were not too bad but there were some places that were a bit slippery. I could have gone faster but I am here and that’s important.”

    Ogier’s closest challenger was Britain’s Kris Meeke driving an Abu Dhabi World Rally Team DS3. With a limited programme of events in 2016 and no real pressure on his shoulders, Meeke seemed to be enjoying his new-found freedom behind the wheel. And he would have been faster than Ogier if he hadn’t lost some time.

    "There was a hairpin near the start and I caught a lip on the inside and had to do a 360 spin to get going again," he explained. "I lost seven or eight seconds - but that’s not going to lose us this rally."

    Andreas Mikkelsen completed the top three, a further 5.3s down, while VW team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was just behind in fourth as he adopted a safety-first approach.

    Hyundai's Thierry Neuville gave the new i20 WRC a steady competitive debut in fifth place, while M-Sport World Rally Team Ford returnee Mads Ostberg completed the top six in his Fiesta RS WRC.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss1




    -------------------------------

    SS2 BARLES - SEYNE (20.38 km)



    Kris Meeke has kicked off his 2016 World Rally Championship campaign in fine style to take an overnight lead on the Rallye Monte Carlo after two stages.

    Having set the pace in shakedown on Wednesday, though the Abu Dhabi Racing Citroen DS3 driver's rally began inauspiciously with a spin early on – one that he felt lost him eight seconds -, he quickly recovered ground to end the Entreveaux-Rouaine test just 4.1secs shy of initial pace setter Sebastien Ogier.

    However, Meeke would make no such mistakes in the Barles-Seyne SS2, powering through the stage 11secs faster than Ogier, allowing the Briton to bridge the deficit and go 6.9secs clear of the Frenchman to lead at the end of Thursday play.

    Behind Ogier, his VW team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen rounds out the early top three, 20secs shy of Meeke and ahead of Thierry Neuville, the Belgian tempering a cautious approach in the new Hyundai i20 with otherwise solid pace.

    Indeed, with the event beginning under the cloak of darkness, the variable stage conditions would create some tyre choice headaches, but all WRC class drivers would make it to the end of the two stages without any major problems, though seventh place Jari-Matti Latvala – having been fourth fastest in SS1 – is already 38secs adrift after hitting a rock in SS2 and slowing as a precaution.

    His problems would promote Hayden Paddon into a fine fifth place heading into Friday, the Kiwi not only competing on his first Monte Carlo Rally this weekend but is doing so at the wheel of the previous generation i20, while Mads Ostberg follows up in sixth position as he made his competitive return to the M-Sport Ford team.

    Robert Kubica got his Rally Monte Carlo off to a solid start with an unflustered run to eighth, ahead of Meeke's Citroen team-mate Stefan Lefebvre, who may have been higher but for time lost in SS1 by what he believed was a puncture. Dani Sordo rounds out the top ten in the second of the new Hyundais, the Spaniard complaining of a lack of confidence to slip almost a minute adrift already.

    Outside the top ten, Ott Tanak ended the day 11th fastest in the DMACK-shod Ford Fiesta, ahead of M-Sport newcomer Eric Camilli and fellow Frenchman Bryan Bouffier.

    Read more at http://www.crash.net/wrc/news/226201...3E6OY7xYDMk.99
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    Friday

    SS3: Corps - La Salle en Beaumont 1, 14.65km


    Hayden Paddon and Robert Kubica have slid out of the 2016 Monte Carlo Rally after crashing at the same corner during first of Friday's six stages.

    Competing in Monte Carlo for the first time, Kiwi Paddon – driving the previous generation i20 WRC - was running a fine fifth overnight just behind his team-mate Thierry Neuville, but a mistake on ice 6km into the Corps stage would see him hit a tree and damage a rear wheel.

    Read more at http://www.crash.net/wrc/news/226203...uLFdQwusojB.99

    SS3 CORPS - LA SALLE EN BEAUMONT 1 (14.65 km)

    Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
    1. 1 OGIER 8:07.5
    2. 7 MEEKE 8:08.4 +0.9 +0.9
    3. 2 LATVALA 8:09.6 +1.2 +2.1
    4. 9 MIKKELSEN 8:12.6 +3.0 +5.1
    5. 3 NEUVILLE 8:17.5 +4.9 +10.0
    6. 5 OSTBERG 8:21.0 +3.5 +13.5
    7. 4 SORDO 8:21.9 +0.9 +14.4
    8. 6 CAMILLI 8:24.3 +2.4 +16.8
    9. 8 LEFEBVRE 8:25.4 +1.1 +17.9
    10. 12 TANAK 8:28.5 +3.1 +21.0
    11. 17 BOUFFIER 8:32.4 +3.9 +24.9
    12. 35 EVANS 8:35.4 +3.0 +27.9
    13. 32 KREMER 8:48.7 +13.3 +41.2
    14. 37 BERTELLI 8:56.0 +7.3 +48.5
    15. 41 BONATO 8:56.2 +0.2 +48.7

    ---------------------------------

    SS4: Aspres les Corps - Chauffayer 1, 25.78km

    Kris Meeke and Sebastien Ogier shared the honours during Friday’s opening two speed tests at Rallye Monte-Carlo with a stage victory each that kept the Briton at the top of the leaderboard in Citroen’s DS 3.



    Ogier edged Meeke by 0.9sec through Corps - La Salle En Beaumont, before Meeke won Aspres Les Corps - Chauffayer by 0.7sec to lead by 6.7sec after four of the 16 stages.

    It was dry and clear in the mountains and valleys near Gap with temperatures a few degrees below freezing, and super soft Michelin tyres were the choice of most frontrunners. However, patchy ice lurked in the shaded sections, especially in the second of the two stages.

    “It was predominantly clear but a difficult surface under the trees and it was hard to read the grip,” said Meeke. “Our ice crew is doing a great job.”

    Ogier ended Aspres Les Corps with a slow puncture on the rear left of his Volkswagen Polo R. “It was a small mistake. I touched slightly on a bridge,” admitted the Frenchman.

    Fourth in both tests kept Andreas Mikkelsen in third in his Polo R, while Thierry Neuville and Jari-Matti Latvala were duelling for fourth. Neuville believed the set-up on his Hyundai i20 was too soft, a complaint echoed by seventh-placed team-mate Dani Sordo.

    There were two big name casualties in the opener. Robert Kubica retired after crashing his Ford Fiesta RS 6.1km after the start, while Hayden Paddon was also out. The Kiwi slid on ice, clipped a tree and ripped the rear left wheel from his Hyundai i20.

    Stephane Lefebvre lost time with a spin while Lorenzo Bertelli stopped briefly in his Ford Fiesta RS.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss4/

    SS4 ASPRES LES CORPS - CHAUFFAYER 1 (25.78 km)

    Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
    1. 7 MEEKE 13:55.9
    2. 1 OGIER 13:56.6 +0.7 +0.7
    3. 3 NEUVILLE 14:07.0 +10.4 +11.1
    4. 9 MIKKELSEN 14:08.0 +1.0 +12.1
    5. 6 CAMILLI 14:11.5 +3.5 +15.6
    6. 5 OSTBERG 14:12.2 +0.7 +16.3
    7. 2 LATVALA 14:12.9 +0.7 +17.0
    8. 4 SORDO 14:18.6 +5.7 +22.7
    9. 12 TANAK 14:19.4 +0.8 +23.5
    10. 8 LEFEBVRE 14:28.6 +9.2 +32.7
    11. 17 BOUFFIER 14:37.6 +9.0 +41.7
    12. 35 EVANS 14:49.1 +11.5 +53.2
    13. 33 MAURIN 15:10.9 +21.8 +1:15.0
    14. 40 GILBERT 15:14.5 +3.6 +1:18.6
    15. 34 GIORDANO 15:17.2 +2.7 +1:21.3
    ---------------------------------

    SS5: Les Costes - Chaillol 1, 17.82km

    Sebastien Ogier regained the lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo in Friday morning’s final stage to return to Gap for the mid-leg service with a slender 1.5sec advantage over Kris Meeke.



    After sharing the honours through the opening two tests, Ogier was 8.2sec faster than his rival through Les Costes - Chaillol, despite his Volkswagen Polo R handling far from perfectly after he clipped a bridge in the previous test and bent the rear left suspension.

    Meeke was third in the stage in Citroen’s DS 3 but denied any problems. “I chose my rhythm for this stage and I’m happy with it. OK, there are always places you can go faster but I kept my pace,” said the Ulsterman.

    The top two are well clear, with Andreas Mikkelsen now 37.8sec behind in his Polo R. Jari-Matti Latvala climbed ahead of a frustrated Thierry Neuville into fourth after going second fastest in the stage. The two are separated by 3.4sec.

    “The car is bottoming a lot, bouncing around. The suspension is too soft. We can change the dampers a bit. OK, the understanding of the car is better but we are not where we wanted to be,” said the Belgian, who is debuting Hyundai’s new-specification i20.

    Mads Ostberg is sixth in his Ford Fiesta RS, the Norwegian admitting it is taking time to settle in with new co-driver Ola Fl?ene. He was 30.8sec ahead of Dani Sordo, the Spaniard sharing Neuville’s frustrations in his i20.

    World Rally Car rookie Eric Camilli and Stephane Lefebvre are close behind Sordo in eighth and ninth respectively, with Ott Tanak completing the top 10.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss5/



    ---------------------------------

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    This is turning out to be a fun rally to follow! Meeke, Ogier, Meeke, Ogier, Meeke. Go Kris!
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    Friday Afternoon

    SS6 CORPS - LA SALLE EN BEAUMONT 2 (14.65 km)




    ----------------------------------

    SS7 ASPRES LES CORPS - CHAUFFAYER 2 (25.78 km)

    Kris Meeke regained the Rallye Monte-Carlo lead on Friday afternoon as his titanic battle with Sebastien Ogier continued unabated.

    Ogier stretched his 1.5sec lunchtime advantage to 5.0sec after winning the second pass through the Corps - La Salle en Beaumont test. However, Meeke hit back in the following Aspres les Corps - Chauffayer, posting fastest time to move back to the top of the leaderboard by 0.8sec.

    “I just keep trusting my instincts, that’s all I can do,” said a relaxed Meeke, at the wheel of Citroen’s DS 3 with the new Abu Dhabi Total squad.

    Ogier admitted he drove more cautiously in the second stage of the group. “It was a bit more tricky and I was more safe,” admitted the Volkswagen Polo R pilot.

    Jari-Matti Latvala climbed to third, overhauling Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen who spun in SS7. “I dropped a lot of time. I lost the rear of the car in the slippery conditions. I tried to get back into the rhythm but it wasn’t optimum driving,” said the Norwegian.

    Also in trouble was Eric Camilli who crashed out on the same stretch of icy road which claimed Robert Kubica earlier, while Lorenzo Bertelli also retired after going off the road.

    Ott Tanak slipped to 10th, dropping 1min 40sec when he rolled into a ditch in his similar Ford Fiesta RS.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss7



    ---------------------------------

    SS8 LES COSTES - CHAILLOL 2 (17.82 km)



    ---------------------------------

    Friday wrap


    Sebastien Ogier led Rallye Monte-Carlo after Friday’s second leg following an enthralling fight with Kris Meeke in which the lead changed hands three times.



    The triple world champion was 9.5sec clear of the Briton after gaining the upper hand in the last of six special stages on mountain and valley roads in the French Alps near Gap, a handful of kilometres from his childhood home.

    “It was exciting to have a great battle with Kris. It wasn’t such a bad day, just a small mistake this morning when I touched a bridge and a slow puncture on the left rear in the final stage,” said the Volkswagen Polo R driver.

    After trailing Meeke by 6.9sec overnight, Ogier regained the initiative in this morning’s final stage. However, the Citroen DS 3 pilot was back ahead after the penultimate test only to succumb to a super finale from Ogier, who claimed the last win by more than nine seconds.

    “There must be something in that stage that Seb knows!” joked Meeke, who won two stages to Ogier’s four. “I think he lives about 3km from there, so I’m happy to give him that one.”



    Andreas Mikkelsen was third until a high-speed spin in the penultimate stage cost a place and knocked his confidence. He ended 25.7sec behind Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who enjoyed a clean run after last night’s suspension issues. Latvala was almost a minute adrift of Meeke.

    Thierry Neuville struggled with handling problems in Hyundai’s new-specification i20 due to suspension that was too soft. However, the Belgian was inside the top five all day, ending 14.0sec behind Mikkelsen.

    Mads Ostberg was sixth, the Norwegian admitting it was taking time to settle with new co-driver Ola Floene. A deflated Dani Sordo was seventh, the Spaniard ill at ease with his i20.

    A broken anti-roll bar and an unscheduled trip into a field failed to disrupt Stéphane Lefebvre en route to eighth. Bryan Bouffier was ninth, despite hitting a tree in the penultimate stage, and Ott Tänak was tenth after rolling his Ford Fiesta RS.

    Bright sunshine and midday temperatures of 6˚C meant the roads were mainly ice free and tyre choice was relatively simple. However, patchy ice caught out Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon, who retired in the opening stage. Kubica slid into a tree and Paddon broke his i20’s suspension after swiping the same obstacle.

    Eric Camilli crashed his Fiesta RS out of eighth on his World Rally Car debut and Lorenzo Bertelli also stopped after hitting a wall. Camilli will not restart tomorrow due to roll cage damage.

    Tomorrow is the longest day with 173.96km packed into five stages. It includes two passes through the marathon 51.55km test from Lardier et Valenca to Faye and the classic Sisteron, before competitors journey south to Monaco.

    click: wrc.com/monte-day-2

    ...

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    Saturday

    SS9 LARDIER ET VALENCA - FAYE 1 (51.55 km)


    Sebastien Ogier stamped his authority on Rallye Monte-Carlo in Saturday’s opening speed test to stretch his lead to 20.1sec after a crushing drive through the longest special stage of this opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship.



    Opening the road in his Volkswagen Polo R, Ogier was 10.6sec faster than closest rival Kris Meeke in the 51.55km stage from Lardier et Valenca to Faye.

    “With no splits I had no idea what was happening in the stage. It was very slippery, a lot more icy than I expected,” said the Frenchman.

    Meeke was far from dispirited after regaining time from Ogier in the final 10km. “There was a lot of debris on the road, even snow because there are little tiny snow banks on the side. I did the best I could on the road I had. If I want to be first on the road in Monte-Carlo then I have to be world champion,” said the DS 3 driver.

    Jari-Matti Latvala was third, albeit 31.3sec off Ogier’s pace, with a happier Thierry Neuville fourth. The Belgian modified the suspension settings on his Hyundai i20 to provide a better feeling on the slippery and bumpy sections.

    Neuville climbed to fourth ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen, who dropped 1min 13.5sec after a bad tyre choice. The Norwegian opted for two Michelin studded tyres on roads that were essentially clear with patchy ice.

    “We tried something different but I think it has dried more than we expected since the gravel crews went through. It should be better on the next one, we’ll make the best of it,” said the Norwegian.

    Dani Sordo limped to the finish with a suspected broken rear suspension arm on his i20 after hitting a bank. He stopped to replace a broken wheel rim in the stage and was reported to be working on the car after the finish.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss9

    Stage times:



    ------------------------------------

    SS10 ST LEGER LES MELEZES-LA BATIE NEUVE 1 (17.13 km)

    Andreas Mikkelsen used the grip offered by four studded tyres to deliver a remarkable stage victory on the snowiest roads encountered so far at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

    The Norwegian was the only top driver to choose four spiked tyres on Saturday morning. They were unsuited to the opening stage when he dropped more than a minute, but were perfect for the snowy roads of the Ancelle ski slopes.

    The Volkswagen Polo R driver was 2.0sec faster on the initial uphill section but used the grip to his advantage on the downhill section to win the 17.13km test by 43.9sec.

    “We had the best tyre choice on this one. I pushed very hard on the downhill section, but over the two stages I’m not sure this was the best option,” said Mikkelsen.

    Leader Sebastien Ogier was second fastest in his Polo R to extend his lead to 30.2sec over Kris Meeke, who conceded a further 10sec in Citroen’s DS 3.

    “We slid wide and hit something on the outside of a corner,” said the Briton. “It was an incredibly difficult stage and after that I lost confidence.”

    Most drivers had only two studded tyres available and struggled on the treacherous downhill section to the finish. Third fastest Jari-Matti Latvala summed it up best: “I don’t know if I have ever driven in such difficult conditions. The hairpins were very slippery and two or three times I had to use full throttle just to keep going,” said the Finn.

    Dani Sordo fixed the suspension problem on his Hyundai i20 after the previous stage but a gearshift issue hindered him here. Team-mate Hayden Paddon spun three times, St?phane Lefebvre dropped 25sec with a spin and Bryan Bouffier became stuck in a hairpin and required spectator help to restart.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss10

    Stage Times:



    ----------------------------------

    SS11 LARDIER ET VALENCA - FAYE 2 (51.55 km)

    Jari-Matti Latvala’s hopes of a Rallye Monte-Carlo podium took a setback when he limped to the end of the event’s longest speed test with suspension damage to the front of his Volkswagen Polo R.

    Third-placed Latvala slipped into a water-filled ditch two-thirds of the way through the second pass of the marathon 51.55km test from Lardier et Valenca to Faye. He lost 1min 50sec struggling to the finish with a broken suspension arm.

    Latvala, who dropped to fifth, stopped 500 metres after the finish to replace the damaged arm before continuing. He must tackle two more stages and complete the long journey south to Monaco before his Volkswagen team has any opportunity to check Latvala’s handiwork ahead of tomorrow’s final leg.

    Kris Meeke was quickest by 3.4sec from Sebastien Ogier, the DS 3 driver reducing the deficit at the head of the leaderboard to 26.8sec.

    “Your instinct is to try to read the road but it’s difficult here. There was a lot of black ice but in other areas it was melting and quite wet,” said the Briton.

    Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville climbed to third and fourth after Latvala’s problem, but the Belgian was just 0.5sec ahead of the Finn after losing a minute himself.

    “We’re trying something else with the tyres, a crossover on this one,” said Neuville. “We lost a minute, which is what we were expecting.”

    Stephane Lefebvre and Bryan Bouffier were fourth and fifth to retain seventh and eighth overall.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss11



    ---------------------------------

    Afternoon:

    SS12 ST LEGER LES MELEZES-LA BATIE NEUVE 2 (17.13 km)


    Kris Meeke (below) and Jari-Matti Latvala both retired from Rallye Monte-Carlo during a dramatic Saturday afternoon in the mountains near Gap.



    Second-placed Meeke, who was the only driver to mount a challenge to leader Sebastien Ogier, went off the road briefly in the second pass through the St Leger les Melezes - La Batie Neuve speed test.

    The Briton jumped out of the car at the stage finish to examine underneath the front of Citroen’s DS 3. He left without talking to journalists and retired with a damaged gearbox at the entrance to the tyre fitting zone at Tallard, ahead of today’s final stage.

    Latvala yielded third after dropping 1min 50sec in SS11 when he slid into a water-filled ditch and broke his Volkswagen Polo R’s front left suspension arm. He fitted a replacement after the finish and set off for SS12, but retired after realising he would be too late to start the test.

    Both will not restart tomorrow as there is no Rally 2 service facility ahead of the final leg.

    Hyundai completed a clean sweep of the top three times in SS12. Thierry Neuville’s clever tyre strategy, which meant he had two studded winter tyres and two unstudded units fitted to his i20, were perfect for the slushy conditions and he was fastest by 13.4sec from Hayden Paddon with Dani Sordo third.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss12



    -------------------------------

    SS13 SISTERON - THOARD (36.60 km)



    Sebastien Ogier will start Sunday's final leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo with a near two-minute lead after his two closest challengers retired during a dramatic Saturday afternoon in the French Alps.



    Although the Frenchman won only one of today's five speed tests near Gap, he journeyed south to Monaco with a 1min 59.7sec advantage over Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. Thierry Neuville was 12.5sec back in third.

    Kris Meeke, who twice demoted Ogier from the lead in an exciting opening two legs, retired from second. The Briton hit debris in the penultimate test, holing the sump guard on his DS 3 and damaging the gearbox.

    "It's a shame for Kris as he was very fast this weekend and we had to produce a big performance to stay ahead of him," said Polo R driver Ogier. "It was an exciting fight. Now it's a different rally for me, I just have to concentrate on getting to the finish."

    Third-placed Jari-Matti Latvala slid into a ditch in SS11 and broke the front left suspension arm on his Polo R. He made repairs after the test but had no chance of checking in at the next control in time and called a halt.

    There is no Rally 2 service facility available in Monaco tonight and so neither Meeke nor Latvala will restart tomorrow.

    Mikkelsen dropped over a minute after a bad tyre choice this morning but recovered to head Neuville by more than a minute. However, the Belgian's inspired selection of winter tyres for the final two stages ensured victory in both in Hyundai's new-specification i20 and he closed in.

    Modified suspension settings provided a better feeling for Neuville on the slippery and bumpy sections after a difficult opening two days.

    Mads Ostberg steered clear of trouble to hold fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS, the Norwegian still fine-tuning his pace note relationship with new co-driver Ola Floene. He is 2min 13.7sec behind Neuville and more than three minutes clear of Stephane Lefebvre's DS 3.

    Lefebvre twice spun but headed Bryan Bouffier in sixth. However, Bouffier broke the rear left suspension arm on his Ford Fiesta RS in the last stage and used a ratchet strap to try to hold it together before embarking on the long liaison section to Monaco.

    Ott Tanak was seventh ahead of Dani Sordo, who lost six minutes with damaged suspension in the opening stage. WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans and Armin Kremer completed the leaderboard.

    Sunday's final leg contains three stages covering 45.50km. Two passes over the 12.07km Col de L'Orme - St Laurent sandwich the 21.35km test from La Bollene Vesubie to Peira Cava. The latter contains the famous Col de Turini, one of the highlights of the WRC season, where huge crowds will gather to watch competitors cross the famous mountain.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss13


    ....

  9. #7

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    Latvala says you're in my way
    https://youtu.be/YeIb89cydrA

  10. #8
    into right 2 tightens Weasel 555's Avatar
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    N.Y. & U.K.
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    Sunday

    SS14 Col de L'Orme - St Laurent 1, 12.60km


    Sebastien Ogier might have started Sunday’s final leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo with a two-minute lead, but he continued to top the timesheets through the opening speed test in the mountains above Monaco.



    The Frenchman even shocked himself by setting fastest time in his Volkswagen Polo R through the 12.60km test, 0.7sec clear of Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20.

    “I was surprised to be fastest. I didn’t have the best tyre choice for this stage. We choose super soft compounds to be careful for the next stage over the Col de Turini, which will be more slippery,” he said.

    Honours were pretty much even in the fight for second between Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville. The Belgian was faster by 0.9sec in his i20 to leave his deficit at 11.6sec with two stages remaining.

    Neuville stopped on the liaison section before the stage to work on his car. “We had some problems but we fixed it. Something was touching but it was nothing mechanical,” he said.

    Mikkelsen was relaxed about the day ahead. “Thierry has soft tyres, which were a better choice for this stage than my super softs. I knew I would lose some time here but the next stage is wet and my tyres will be better there,” he explained.

    click: wrc.com/monte-ss14

    Stage Times:

    Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
    1. 1 OGIER 8:15.0
    2. 4 SORDO 8:15.7 +0.7 +0.7
    3. 3 NEUVILLE 8:16.6 +0.9 +1.6
    4. 9 MIKKELSEN 8:17.5 +0.9 +2.5
    5. 8 LEFEBVRE 8:20.3 +2.8 +5.3
    6. 10 PADDON 8:24.6 +4.3 +9.6
    7. 5 OSTBERG 8:26.7 +2.1 +11.7
    8. 12 TANAK 8:33.8 +7.1 +18.8
    9. 32 KREMER 8:38.4 +4.6 +23.4
    10. 41 BONATO 8:39.0 +0.6 +24.0


    -----------------------------------


    SS15 LA BOLLENE VESUBIE - PEIRA CAVA (21.36 km)

    Stage Times:


    Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
    1. 9 MIKKELSEN 14:09.2
    2. 4 SORDO 14:11.7 +2.5 +2.5
    3. 8 LEFEBVRE 14:17.8 +6.1 +8.6
    4. 3 NEUVILLE 14:19.3 +1.5 +10.1
    5. 10 PADDON 14:20.2 +0.9 +11.0
    6. 5 OSTBERG 14:21.4 +1.2 +12.2
    7. 1 OGIER 14:22.8 +1.4 +13.6
    8. 48 LAPPI 14:38.2 +15.4 +29.0
    9. 12 TANAK 14:41.9 +3.7 +32.7
    10. 31 SUNINEN 14:43.9 +2.0 +34.7


    --------------------------------

    SS16 COL DE L'ORME - ST LAURENT 2 (Power stage) (12.07 km)

    World champion Sebastien Ogier completed a hat-trick of Rallye Monte-Carlo victories on Sunday afternoon in the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship.

    The Volkswagen Polo R driver won the four-day event on snow, ice and clear asphalt roads in the French Alps by 1min 54.5sec from team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

    Thierry Neuville finished third in Hyundai’s new-specification i20, a further 1min 23.4sec back, despite limping through the final speed tests with a transmission problem.

    Ogier also won the closing live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points. Dani Sordo took two points for second in his i20, while Mikkelsen claimed the final point in third.




    -----------------------------------------

    Congratulations to Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry on WRC2 victory and eighth overall on the Monte Carlo!




    ---------------------------

    Next Rnd2



    Official Website: rallysweden.com/

    Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

    WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


    ...
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 01-24-2016 at 10:30 AM.

  11. #9
    Tower City Race Team Dante's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Location
    Herman, Michigan, United States.
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    I see Oscar Solberg on the WRC Entry List for Sweden!! RC2 / NR4 Subaru STI! Cool!

    http://www.rallysweden.com/wp-conten...-List-2016.pdf
    Gone to Group 5 Rear Wheel Drive!!! Car #50

    I'll catch you if I can!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Herman...am/49931201369

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