WRC Monte Carlo: Ogier extends lead over Tanak despite damage – WRC

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Sebastien Ogier’s Monte Carlo Rally lead ballooned to more than a minute after the first two Saturday stages, despite damaging a wheel.

The reigning world champion started the day 14.9s clear but smashed his main rival Ott Tanak on a devilishly tricky 18-mile opening stage topped by Andreas Mikkelsen.

Ogier broke part of the left-rear wheel rim on his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC but still completed SS9 almost a minute faster than his 2017 World Rally Championship team-mate.

Tanak was quickest on the second, shorter morning stage but complained about a damper problem despite clawing back 15.5s against a conservative Ogier, whose lead stands at 1m03.4s.

Jari-Matti Latvala jumped two spots in one stage to end the morning third overall.

The Toyota driver was just 0.2s behind team-mate Esapekka Lappi after Friday’s running and was on course to overhaul his fellow Finn for fourth when it emerged that third-placed Dani Sordo had stopped on the stage.

Latvala took full advantage, beating Lappi by more than half a minute on the stage to vault into a clear third as Sordo’s podium challenge came to an end with his Hyundai in a ditch.

That means all three i20 WRCs have had their season openers ruined.

Sordo’s woe put Thierry Neuville up to eighth as he recovers from a torrid Friday, while Mikkelsen dropped out of contention on Friday with an alternator problem.

He returned as a Rally2 runner and benefitted from a favourable road position, running after the other WRC drivers, to top SS9 despite suffering “three spins in a straightline!” and then set the second-best time on SS10.

Kris Meeke is fifth but had his advantage over Bryan Bouffier trimmed to just over half a minute after a tricky couple of stages.

Comfortable WRC2 leader Jan Kopecky is now into the top 10 thanks to Sordo’s off.

Leading positions after SS10

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 2h45m21.2s
2 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m03.4s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m41.1s
4 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 2m06.6s
5 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 4m29.8s
6 Bryan Bouffier, X.Panseri M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 5m02.6s
7 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 5m18.8s
8 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 5m48.9s
9 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8m37.1s
10 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport II Skoda 11m09.8s



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