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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 1st Round of the 2013 WR Championship.



This year, the route is fractionally longer than in 2012 and, with 468 competitive kilometres run as 18 special stages, it is the longest Monte since 1995. Run from a Service Park in the French city of Valence, 400km kilometres north of Monte-Carlo, organisers have kept the opening two days (Wednesday 16 January and Thursday 17 January) largely unchanged from 2012’s programme on roads through the Ardèche, the Haute-Loire and the Drôme regions.

On Friday 18 January there is a significant change to the itinerary. There is an all-new stage, Saint Nazaire le Desert to Le Motte Chalancon, and the return of the famous Sisteron test last run in 2002. Measuring 36.70 kilometres in length, the Sisteron-Thoard stage will mark the final competitive action of day three before the overnight halt in Monaco ahead of the final five stages on Saturday 19 January.

Following a morning off, the 60 highest-place crews in the overall classification with tackle three runs over the famous Col de Turini (Le Moulinet-La Bollene), including two under the cover of darkness, and two passes through Lantosque-Luceram, one by day and one by night. The final Lantosque-Luceram will form the event-closing Power Stage.

Shakedown is scheduled for Tuesday 15 January with the official starting ceremony taking place from 1800hrs the same day. The traditional finish podium will be in the grounds of the Place du Palais in Monaco at 1100hrs on Sunday 20 January.

click: wrc.com/monte preview

Official Website: acm.mc/=en

Listen Live: wrc.com/fanzone/wrc-live/



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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Shakedown:

Theirry Neuville topped the times in shakedown for the opening round of the new World Rally Championship season in Monte Carlo.

Neuville, who makes his first start this week in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, stopped the clocks in 2m 26.1s on his fastest run through the 3.6km-long stage on the Plateau de Lautagne, some 8km south of the service park in Valence.

“So much depends on the road conditions,” Neuville told the official WRC website. “We had a great couple of runs at the end when the road was quite clean. The snow was only patchy at that point and the road quite clean. I had good confidence and could try to drive hard and see the limits of the car.

“But it's not always the fastest driver who wins this rally, almost never in fact. We just need to be careful – especially during tomorrow's first day, which I expect will be very complicated. My objective remains to stay on the road and get the car all the way to Monaco."

That put the Belgian driver 2.6s clear of the Citroen of defending champion Sebastien Loeb and the first of the Qatar M-Sport WRT Fords in the hands of Evgeny Novikov.

Mikko Hirvonen's Citroen was fourth quickest with the two new Volkswagen Polos rounding out the top six; Jari-Matti Latvala going two tenths of a second faster than Sebastien Ogier.

“For our first run the stage was completely covered with packed snow. Not ice as such, but hard packed and very slippy,” Latvala said. “There were already a couple of tracks on the road where people had gone off ahead of me. Soon after I had a small moment myself when I stalled under braking and went straight on at a junction.

“We started on the studded snow tyre option. On the corners it was fine, but under braking it's difficult because the slush blocks the tyre tread and we kept locking up. If the weather stays like this I'm expecting a very difficult Monte-Carlo.”

The event will get underway with the opening stage on Wednesday morning.

Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo: Shakedown times:

1. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 26.1s
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2.6s M
3. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2.7s M
4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +3.3s M
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo WRC +4.3s M
6. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo WRC +4.5s M
7. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +5.7s
8. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6.8s M
9. Tomas Kostka Skoda Fabia S2000 +11.3s
10. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +11.4s
11. Juho Hanninen Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12.6s
12. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Fabia S2000 +14.2s
13. Julien Marin Ford Fiesta RS WRC +20.0s
14. Martin Prokop Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +24.6s
15. Bryan Bouffier Citroen DS3 WRC +25.4s
16. Michal Kosciousko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +25.4s

all times unofficial

click: crash.net/monte shakedown

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wed Day 1
SS1: Ogier claims maiden stage win for VW




Sebastien Ogier got Volkswagen’s World Rally Championship campaign off to a sensational start by winning the opening stage of the Rallye Monte-Carlo in the German manufacturer’s brand new Polo R WRC.

The Frenchman completed the 37km test from Le Moulinon in a time of 27m31.8s, beating his Citroen rival, defending world champion Sebastien Loeb, by 3.7s.

After snow flurries on Tuesday, skies were clear as crews left the service park in Valence to make the 45km journey to the start of the opening test. Roads around Valence were largely dry but sub zero temperatures meant there were still patches of snow around. And after a dry start to SS1, a treacherous 7km section of hard packed snow remained on the high altitude approach to the Col de la Fayolle.

Studded winter tyres were the most popular of the four choices on offer, even though the dry sections risked damaging the studs.

Ogier, 28, leapt from his Polo at the end of the stage to check his tyres, before declaring himself delighted with the result. “It’s a good start!” he said. “But we have more than 400km still to go, so really it’s nothing – now we have to carry on.”

With another long stage to come before the midday service, Loeb was concerned about the state of his Michelins. “What can we do?” he said. "I tried to save them on the first part of the stage but it was very long - I think about 25km of dry asphalt. The tyres were moving around a lot so I destroyed them for sure.”

Fellow Citroen DS3 WRC driver Dani Sordo was third quickest, 16.5s slower than Loeb, but satisfied with his first performance on his return to the team.

Mikko Hirvonen was fourth in another Citroen. “It was difficult to find the balance between saving the tyres and attacking. Did I save them enough? I don’t know – we’ll see on the next stage,” he said.

Evgeny Novikov rounded off the top five, setting a time 29 seconds slower than Ogier in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Lotos World Rally Team driver Michal Kosciuszko got off to a bad start, dropping 2m22s after his MINI John Cooper picked up an engine problem. “My first stage in the MINI was going okay but then the engine sound changed,” he said. “ I don’t know what’s wrong. I need to speak to the team.”

click: wrc.com/monte ss1



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SS2: Loeb wins Burzet to lead



Sebastien Loeb was at his imperious best through today’s second special stage of Rallye Monte Carlo, setting fastest time in treacherous conditions to move ahead of Sebastien Ogier at the top of the leaderboard.

Around 80 per cent of the test was covered by ice and snow, with only 3km of clear conditions at the start. It demanded studded rubber, but the predominantly dry roads in the previous stage took a toll on the spikes, and drivers had to use two already well-used tyres alongside two new ones.

Grip was at a premium, but Loeb showed all the experience gained by six Monte wins to go fastest by 10.4sec and began the journey back to the Valence service park with a 6.7sec lead in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

“I slid a lot in the opening stage and so I had only two tyres with full studs for this stage,” he explained. “It was nearly all snow and ice and I missed some traction.”

Sebastien Ogier showed his opening stage win was no fluke by going second fastest. His Volkswagen Polo R WRC had more studs remaining, and a relaxed Ogier was happy with his work. “We were quite safe and had no moments. I had a good drive and made no mistakes,” he explained.

The two Frenchmen are already more than 30sec clear of their rivals, headed by Dani Sordo. The Spaniard was fifth quickest in his Citroen DS3 WRC and said: “Conditions were unbelievable. Where the snow is disappearing and the asphalt comes though, you can’t judge the grip and it would be easy to make a mistake.”

Third in the stage and fourth overall is Juho Hanninen at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, but the 31-year-old Finn was a relieved man. “After 2km I hit a bridge with the right rear. I thought I would have to stop to change the tyre but it was OK. I drove slowly for the rest of the stage and thought I would lose more time,”

Also going well was Bryan Bouffier whose Citroen DS3 WRC was fourth in the stage, ahead of Sordo and the Fiesta RS WRC of Thierry Neuville.

Qatar World Rally Team’s Neuville is fifth overall, just ahead of former team-mate Mikko Hirvonen. The Finn was ninth fastest in the stage,37.2sec behind Loeb and could only marvel at his colleague’s performance. “Seb was amazing. It’s just unbelievable,” he said.

Slipping down the order was Jari-Matti Latvala who incurred a 30sec penalty after checking into the stage arrival control late. “The road section was tight. We stopped to change tyres but there wasn’t enough time for that and we were three minutes late,” explained the Polo R WRC pilot.

Michal Kosciuszko continued to struggle with a misfiring MINI John Cooper, the Polish driver dropping more than two minutes.

WRC 2

Skoda Fabia S2000 driver Sepp Wiegand holds a 43sec lead of the WRC 2 classification after two stages. The German took the lead from early pace-setter Esapekka Lappi, also in a Skoda, who hit rocks midway through SS1, breaking a wheel and front suspension wishbone. German WRC veteran Armin Kremer is second in a Subaru Impreza, with Yuri Protosov third in another Subaru.

WRC 3

Heading to today’s midpoint service, Citroen DS3 R3T driver Renaud Poutot leads the two-car WRC 3 classification by 54.3sec. However the Frenchman is likely to face a tough challenge this afternoon from his rival, Sebastien Chardonnet, in another DS3. A puncture cost Chardonnet more than two minutes on today’s opening stage, but he was 1m13.5s faster than Poutot through SS2.

click: wrc.com/monte ss2



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Checked the SPEED channels programming till Tuesday, no WRC. According to WRC.com there is no TV coverage for North America.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^ i checked discovery hd, speed all i found was speed2 has last season online.

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SS3

The stage times for SS3 of Rallye Monte-Carlo are being reviewed following posible communications isues at the end of the stage. We will bring you confirmed times as soon as possible.

click: wrc/monte ss3

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^ Curt, yep i saw/read maybe they should bring back ST1 who ran it for several seasons with no hiccups !.

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SS3

The stage times for SS3 of Rallye Monte-Carlo are being reviewed following posible communications isues at the end of the stage. We will bring you confirmed times as soon as possible.

click: wrc/monte ss3

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Update - SS3: Loeb edges further ahead



Sebastien Loeb stretched his overall lead of Rallye-Monte Carlo to 26.6sec by setting the fastest time on the repeated Le Moulinon stage, run earlier as SS1.

The Citroen DS3 driver completed the test in 25m16.2s, 12.1sec quicker than Jari-Matti Latvala who was next fastest in his Volkswagen Polo R. Dani Sordo was third fastest, stopping the clock 15.4sec slower than Loeb.

With an allocation of just 30 winter tyres, many drivers elected to run a ‘crossover’ choice on the largely dry SS3, typically with a combination of two winter and two asphalt tyres fitted front to back or, like Loeb, on diagonal corners.

“It’s not so nice to drive without full studs but I think this is the fastest way to do it,” explained Loeb. “We are here. We need to think about how we use our snow tyres. I expect more snow tomorrow and on Friday. We have to take care and think like that.”

Latvala collected a 30 second road penalty before SS2 when work to try and soften his car’s front suspension on a road section overran. After service however Latvala was far happier with the feeling in his Polo R. “I am pleased with that time, after the changes in service the car feels much better,” he said.

Sordo, meanwhile, was loving his competitive debut in the DS3. “In the dry sections especially the car is incredible to drive – the way it works is almost unbelievable,” he said.

Hirvonen was fourth fastest but didn’t enjoy driving on a mixed set of tyres. “Okay, I’m happy to be here but it’s very difficult to get a good feeling like this,” he said.

Fifth fastest Sebastien Ogier was satisfied to have got through the stage cleanly and hold second place overall. “It’s okay, not a bad time,” he said, before adding that he wouldn’t be chasing Loeb’s lead, saying, “I don’t care about Loeb’s times!”

At the midday service the problem with Michal Kosciuszko’s MINI John Cooper Works was traced to a faulty fuel injector. The Pole’s luck showed no sign of improving on SS3 when the replacement injector proved to be faulty as well. Things went from bad to worse when he also picked up a puncture and had to stop mid-stage to change the wheel. He eventually completed the stage 7m14sec slower than Loeb.

click: wrc.com/news/monte ss3



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SS4 and Day 1 wrap:

First in the start order, fastest through the stage, and first overall – Sebastien Loeb began his ‘retirement’ from the WRC by building a 1min 20.3sec overnight advantage after a crushing victory in the final stage of the opening leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo.

The nine-time world champion, competing in the first of just four scheduled outings this year in a Citroen DS3, was quickest by 34.4sec from Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team-mate Mikko Hirvonen. But even the 38-year-old French master found conditions on SS4 difficult, despite a full set of studded tyres.

“There was less snow than this morning. But near the end, while the road looked dry, it’s freezing again and I lost and grip and some confidence. I had a few small moments….I’m happy to be at the end of the day,” said Loeb.

Hirvonen was frustrated with pretty much everything, but his speed was still sufficient to propel him from sixth midway through the leg into third tonight. “I was too cautious, but when I try to push harder I go wide. I really hate these conditions. I really, really hate to drive like this but at least I’m here,” said the 32-year-old Finn.

Sebastien Ogier is the meat in the Citroen sandwich in second overall. The Volkswagen Polo R driver was fourth fastest, 53.7sec slower than Loeb, but offered no clues as to where the time went. “We did our best but it wasn’t easy in there. There was a lot of mud,” he said.

Dani Sordo lies fourth, the Spaniard reporting no major issues in Burzet en route to sixth fastest time in a Citroen DS3. Fifth on the stage and fifth overall is Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn picked up a front right puncture on his Volkswagen Polo R about 5km from the stage finish, and lost 30sec. He is 31sec behind Dani Sordo.

Mads Ostberg was unhappy with the day, but the Norwegian could be pleased after setting third fastest time in his Fiesta RS. “It was very tricky. In some places there was ice where we didn’t have it marked in our notes. In others we had ice marked and there was none. We’re doing the best we can, but I’m disappointed,” admitted the Qatar M-Sport driver.

Worse was to come when his car stopped on the liaison section after the final stage with an electrical sensor problem. Team engineers provided advice on the telephone as Ostberg worked to solve the problem but he eventually checked in 11 minutes late, and is likely to receive a 1m50s time penalty.

In trouble on the final stage were Qatar World Rally Team duo Thierry Neuville and Juho Hanninen. Neuville retired after ripping the front left wheel from his Fiesta RS and with Rally 2 in operation here, the Belgian’s rally is over. In an unfortunate coincidence, the spot he stopped at was just 1.5kms away from where he retired last year.

Hanninen spun 4km from the finish and lost more time reversing back and forth to turn round in the particularly narrow roads. He lies eighth.

WRC 2

Skoda Fabia S2000 driver Sepp Wiegand holds a 60.3sec advantage over Armin Kremer in all-German battle at the head of the WRC 2 category.

Wiegand was faster than his fellow countryman on the first three stages, but veteran Kremer battled back on the final stage to slash the deficit by almost 25sec in his Subaru Impreza.

“We had no major problems,” explained Wiegand. “I tried to drive safely and it worked. But this is a long and tough rally so we’ll wait and see how things are after the second leg tomorrow.”

Early leader was Esapekka Lappi, who was fastest through the first stage despite hitting a rock and breaking the front suspension wishbone on his Skoda Fabia S2000. He started the second test but the damage was too bad for him to continue, the young Finn stopping after 20km.

Ukraine’s Yuriy Protosov lies third in another Impreza, more than 2min 30sec behind Kremer.

WRC 3

At the end of the first day of competition in the FIA’s new championship for front-wheel drive cars, Frenchman Renaud Poutot holds first place, with his compatriot Sebastien Chardonnet 1m05.9s behind in second.

Driving a Citroen DS3 R3T, Poutot won two of the opening day’s four stages and ran reliably all day but rarely seemed at ease in the varied conditions. However he was the chief beneficiary of an unlucky opening day for his rival Chardonnet, also in a DS3 R3T, who picked up two costly punctures and spent the rest of the day playing catch up.

Chardonnet got his first puncture on the rally’s opening stage after he clipped a rock and had to stop to change the wheel. More than two minutes adrift after SS1 he recovered well, going 1m13.5s quicker than Poutot through SS2, and 12.3sec quicker on SS3. But his recovery took another knock on SS4 when another rock strike resulted in his second puncture, 6km before the finish line.

Anther Frenchman, Quentin Gilbert, was to have started in a third DS3, but he was forced to withdraw his entry after losing his driving licence for a speeding offence just before the rally.

click: wrc.com/monte ss4 / end of day 1 wrap




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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Team bosses reflect on opening day of Monte



Q & A

Q: Yves, at the end of day 1, Sebastien Loeb is in the lead. It’s probably the final time we are going to see him compete in Rallye Monte Carlo as part of a works team. How do you feel the day has gone for Citroen?

Yves Matton (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi): It has been very good for us, with a lead of 1min 20sec. Seb is leading and it was a good day for him. We also have cars in third and fourth and I think it’s a good start to this difficult rally.

Q. There have been some difficult conditions today, but what is the weather forecast for tomorrow and what can we expect to see from Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo?

Yves Matton: The weather, it seems, will be colder and colder and it will not be easy for tyre choice. What do we expect? We are in first, third and fourth and the final aim is to have two cars on the podium. We made a good start and we will see what will happen.

Q. The first WRC round for Volkswagen Motorsport with the Polo, the first stage and it’s a win for Sebastien Ogier. That must have felt good after two years of working towards this goal?

Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport): It felt really good. Coming with the new car and the new team to the first rally and then having the chance, the opportunity or the luck to win the first stage is absolutely extraordinary and lots of pressure fell off us. We showed that our pace is not too far off and we expect quite a good season.

Q. Sebastien Ogier has been driving for the team through last season but Jari-Matti Latvala is new to the team this year. What did you think of his performance today?

Jost Capito: Jari-Matti did exactly what we asked him to do. To finish the rally is the most important thing for us, and of course he has much less experience of the Polo R WRC than Sebastien. It was obvious to see the time differences and also to see that on the later stages Jari-Matti caught up. Unfortunately he had a puncture in the last stage which cost time but we’re very happy with the performance of them both.

Q: There isn’t a Ford at the moment in the top three. Can there be by this time tomorrow?

Malcolm Wilson (Qatar M-Sport): I think it’s possible if you look what has happened today. There has been a lot of drama. Sadly, we lost Thierry Neuville in the last stage which is a disappointment. But, apart from Loeb who has a big lead, the other guys are not so far apart and if you look at the time differences today then anything is possible.

Q: Conditions have been really tricky today. Is there more snow forecast and are you concerned about the allocation of snow tyres?

Malcolm Wilson: I think we are all concerned about the allocation if there is more snow. It is looking as if it’s going to get colder and colder. We are all scratching our heads about how we are going to make the tyres last the distance.

click: wrc.com/team bosses Q&A

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Monte Carlo Rally: World Rally teams furious over timing issue

World Rally Championship manufacturers have reacted angrily to the timing and tracking issues that caused major confusion on day one of the Monte Carlo season-opener.

Spanish firm Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT) replaced the WRC's long-standing timing and tracking provider Stage One Technology for this year, but immediately hit problems.

There were no split times on any of Wednesday's four stages, and incorrect results were listed for the afternoon - when Thierry Neuville was shown as the rally leader instead of Sebastien Loeb in a jumbled top 10.

Volkswagen Motorsport team principal Jost Capito said: "It's completely unacceptable what we have seen today.

"The FIA expects the manufacturers and the teams to be properly prepared and they are charging a high entry fee. The least you can expect is the proper timing.

"And it's not just the timing, it's security too. The FIA is pushing so much on safety, I don't know how they can run stages where the safety system is not working, where it shows up on the screen that there is an emergency, yet the car is moving. If there is a real emergency, then what will happen?

"I think this is completely irresponsible."

read more: autosport.com/news/105149

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Confusion reigns in Monte Carlo
Timing problems mar first day of Rallye Monte Carlo and start of 2013 WRC season


Citroen's Sebastien Loeb seemingly leads Rallye Monte Carlo at the end of the opening day, although timing issues on SS3 mean the overall classification is far from clear.

The FIA opted to appoint a new timing partner for 2013 with Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicación replacing British firm Stage 1 Technology. All went relatively smoothly this morning, although on the repeat-run through Le Moulinon-Antraigues this afternoon that was not the case, and initially Loeb was given a time that dropped him right down the order.

Timing problems were fixed for SS4, but the exact times for SS3 remain unknown. Unofficially, however, Loeb seems to have increased his advantage, setting the best times in both SS3 and SS4, to head into the end of day service with a 60-second plus gap over Sebastien Ogier.

“It was very tricky,” Loeb told WRC Live at the end of SS4, “for sure there was less snow than on the first pass. [But] it was re-freezing again in some places and I lost a bit of confidence at the end. I am happy to be at the end of the day.”

click: crash.net/news/187314/


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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Curt, your welcome and I hope everyone else is appreciative.

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[video=youtube;FpcweqS-wmE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpcweqS-wmE[/video]

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Day 2
SS5: Ogier fastest




Having started Rallye Monte-Carlo with a fastest time on Wednesday’s opening stage, Sebastien Ogier did the same this morning, taking the second stage victory for the new Polo R on the 19km snow-covered SS5.

Ford Fiesta RS driver Evgeny Novikov was second fastest, 2.9sec slower than Ogier, with rally leader Sebastien Loeb 5.4sec off Ogier’s pace in his Citroen DS3.

Weather conditions in the Valence service park were clear and crisp with a temperature of -3 degrees Celsius as teams carried out the pre-stage 20-minute service. Sixty-four kilometres away at the start of SS5 however the temperature had plunged to -10 degrees.

In contrast to the mixed dry and ice-covered stages of day one, SS5 was more consistent, with seventy percent of the stage covered in packed snow. The studded winter tyre was the preferred choice, with many drivers electing to ration their supply of 20 by reusing some of the ones they had used on day one.

“That’s a great start,” said Ogier. “Very good conditions. Very slippy but fun to drive.”

Novikov, whose car was shod with a full set of brand new studded tyres, felt a more aggressive driving style had paid off. “I was a bit too careful yesterday so today I decided to push a bit harder on the snow where I feel comfortable - I’m happy with this time,” he said.

With a rally lead of 1m14.9s, Sebastien Loeb, was happy with his driving but concerned about his start position of first on the road. “These are proper Monte-Carlo conditions,” he said. “The end was full of snow, it was bright and sunny so really nice to drive. I’m not sure its good to be first of the road in the morning but we’ll see.”

Loeb’s team-mate Dani Sordo was fourth fastest, with Mads Ostberg rounding off the top five times.

Finns Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen) were eighth and ninth fastest respectively, and both were unhappy with their driving. “I don’t know what the problem is but I just don’t have the speed here,” said Hirvonen. “It must be me because the car is fine.”

Latvala, who clipped a roadside pole on the stage, said: “I’m struggling on the snow and can’t get the feeling. I’m not going very well and that’s not good.”

click: wrc.com/monte ss5



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SS6: New studs pay dividends for Novikov



The stage lived up to its name –‘froid’ it certainly was. Strong winds blew snow from the fields onto the roads and an air temperature of -11°C felt more like -30°C in the wind chill. Conditions were likened to those found in Sweden, and full studded tyres were the only sensible choice.

Evgeny Novikov took full advantage of his decision to fit a new set of studded rubber to his Ford Fiesta RS this morning and duly delivered the first stage win for the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team.

The young Russian was fastest by 4.9sec from team-mate Mads Ostberg and said: “I was on the limit. I was very careful in the braking areas. It was a difficult stage but I enjoyed it.”

Ostberg made some changes to the car before the stage and they clearly paid off for the Norwegian. “It worked better but I’m still not pushing,” he explained. “I didn’t want to push and I’m losing a lot of time in the high-speed areas.” Not that much though….

Juho Hanninen made it a Ford 1-2-3 in the stage, 8.3sec behind Novikov, although the Finn was slightly rattled after briefly sliding off the road on a fast right corner.

Fourth fastest was the Volkswagen Polo R of Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn was happier with his driving and realised that his brush with a roadside pole in the opening stage had actually punctured a tyre.

Those at the top of the leaderboard tackled the stage first and were hampered by snow on the road. Conditions improved as they swept the road to leave a cleaner and faster line for those behind.

Consequently Dani Sordo was fifth in his Citroen DS3, but that was sufficient to move the Spaniard into third overall, relegating Mikko Hirvonen. The gap between the two is just 5.0sec.

Rally leader Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier were just behind Sordo, Ogier losing a few seconds after spinning. As first on the road, Loeb endured the worst of the conditions.

“It started to snow and in some places there was a lot of snow in the road. I was making the line and there was no grip. It wasn’t as enjoyable as the first stage - more stressful than enjoyable,” he explained.

Bryan Bouffier spun his Citroen DS3 while Martin Prokop escaped unscathed after hitting a bank with his front left wheel in a high-speed section. Michal Kosciuszko’s troubled event continued when the Pole bent the right rear wheel on his MINI John Cooper Works and lost about a minute.

click: wrc.com/monte ss6



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SS7: Loeb still Monte master at Thursday midpoint



Reigning world rally champion Sebastien Loeb remains in control of Rallye Monte-Carlo at the halfway point of Thursday’s competition, the Citroen ace heading to service at Valence with a useful lead of 1m17.9sec over Sebastien Ogier.

Loeb, running first on the road, lost a few seconds of his overnight advantage on the morning loop, but emerged from SS7 happy with his lot. “That was okay – a good drive,” he said. “We started the day with a good lead and we should keep that. Perhaps I was a bit too careful at the end of that one, but there was lots of ice, absolutely no grip, and rocks and walls…”

Volkswagen’s Ogier was second fastest on SS7 to maintain a relatively comfortable second overall on his debut event in the Polo R. “All okay, but that was the trickiest of the morning loop I think,” he said. “A lot of ice, low grip and we had to try to conserve our tyres too.”

Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo is third, 1m00.1s behind Ogier.

Another remarkable stage win for Evgeny Novikov on SS7, promoted the Russian ahead of Mikko Hirvonen into fourth, 7.6sec behind Sordo. Before the drive to service, the Fiesta RS driver was full of praise for his experienced gravel note crew of Denis Giraudet and Francois Delecour. “They are quite good, you know! They give me the best pace notes and that’s given me confidence here,” he said.

Citroen DS3 driver Hirvonen completed the mixed asphalt and ice covered SS7 eighth fastest and in low spirits “Not so good again,” Hirvonen shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe I destroyed my tyres on the asphalt section near the start, because at the end it was very slippery and I don’t have any confidence.” Hirvonen lies fifth, 4.1sec behind Novikov.

Jari-Matti Latvala is sixth in Volkswagen’s second Polo R, 25.1sec behind Hirvonen and still dissatisfied with his driving in varied road conditions. “Okay, it’s getting better but I still don’t have the confidence in the mixed. When it’s consistent, either snow or dry, then it’s okay.”

Twenty-five seconds behind Latvala, Juho Hanninen (Ford Fiesta RS) is seventh, despite a small off on SS6. Bryan Bouffier (Citroen DS3) is 56.5sec further back in eighth. Mads Ostberg is ninth, after a good morning’s work during which he set a second and third fastest stage time.

WRC2

Sepp Wiegand dominated the FIA’s new WRC 2 category on Thursday morning, winning all three stages in his Skoda Fabia S2000 to more than triple his overnight lead to 3m47.s.

The German declared himself happy with his driving, but said the conditions were hazardous. “Everything’s okay, but we’ve had a lot of small but big moments!” he said.

Behind him, there were no changes to the top three. Armin Kremer holds second in a Group N specification Subaru Impreza, but said he struggled to control the car under braking on the numerous icy sections.

Russian driver Yuriy Protosov, also in an Impreza, is 1m28sec further back in third. “There’s been a lot of ice,’ he said. “The surface changes from asphalt to ice all the time and it’s hard to find the grip.

Rashid Al Ketbi (Skoda Fabia S2000) is a distant fourth, 13 minutes behind Protosov, with Ricardo Trivino (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) five minutes further back. Lorenzo Bertelli (Subaru Impreza) completes the WRC 2 runners.

WRC 3

Sebastien Chardonnet heads to Thursday’s midpoint service first in the WRC 3 classification after overnight leader Renaud Poutot crashed on today’s second stage.

Poutot, in a Citroen DS3 R3T, began the day with a 1m05.9s advantage over Chardonnet in a similar car, and stretched this to 1m19.2s with another win on SS5.

On SS6, however, Poutot threw away his advantage when his car left the road. “It was a very slow corner and I was perhaps 2kph too fast - we went off and bumped into a tree,” he explained.

Chardonnet resolved to drive more smoothly today following two costly punctures on Wednesday. He had a scare on SS5, when he drove off the road and had to be pushed back on, but emerged from SS6 with an 8sec lead over Poutot. A stage win on SS7 stretched that to 40.2sec.

click: wrc.com/monte ss7




...:cool:
 

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Someone uploaded a Day 1 highlights from SPEED to youtube. So they must be airing something.

[video=youtube;FpcweqS-wmE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpcweqS-wmE[/video]
 

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Not sure if anyone is having the same experience as me, but the irally app gives me nothing but music. Using the link off of wrc.com is the only way I have been able to listen.
 
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