1st round, Rallye Monte Carlo
Ogier, the record man
This year’s WRC began, as usual, with the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. The itinerary of the event was altered, due to the restrictions against COVID-19.
Frenchmen Sebastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia began their title defence ideally, as they claimed their 8th win in Monte, with 4 different teams (Volkswagen, M-Sport Ford, Citroen, Toyota). That way, Sebastien Ogier became the driver with most wins on his favorite event, surpassing Sebastien Loeb.
Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin also contributed to the excellent start for Toyota, as their second place formed a stunning 1-2, in Jari-Matti Latvala's debut as Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal.
Belgians Thierry Neuville-Martijn Wydaeghe claimed the third spot of the podium, in their debut as a crew, following Neuville's sudden cooperation termination with long-standing co-driver, Nicolas Gilsoul.
Finns Kalle Rovanpera-Jonne Halttunen, Spaniards Dani Sordo-Carlos Del Barrio and Takamoto Katsuta-Dan Barritt, completed the Top6.
Regarding the WRC support categories, Norwegians Andreas Mikkelsen-Ola Floene (Toksport, Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) won the WRC2 (teams in Rally2 specification cars), whilst Frenchmen Yohan Rossel-Benoit Fulcrand claimed top spot in WRC3 (privateer drivers in Rally2 specification cars).
Note, that Ott Tanak-Martin Jarveoja, who led during the first day, retired for the second consecutive time in Monte, this year due to double puncture.
Finally, Teemu Suninen-Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) rolled out of contention in the very first stage of the rally.
Rallye Monte Carlo 2021
Special Stages: 14
Length: 257,64 kms.
Final Classification – Top 10
1 S. Ogier-J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC 2:56:33.7
2 E. Evans-S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +32.6
3 T. Neuville-M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:13.5
4 K. Rovanpera-J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +2:33.6
5 D. Sordo-C. Del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +3:14.2
6 T. Katsuta-D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +7:01.3
7 A. Mikkelsen-O. Floene Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo/1st WRC2 +7:23.6
8 G. Greensmith-E. Edmondson Ford Fiesta WRC +8:21.1
9 A. Fourmaux-R. Jamoul Ford Fiesta Rally2 MkII/2nd WRC2 +9:15.8
10 E. Camilli-F.X.Buresi Citroen C3 Rally2/3rd WRC2 +10:41.0
Fastest times: Ogier 8, Tanak-Evans-Neuville 2
Rally leader/stage: 1-2 Tanak, 3 Rovanpera, 4-5 Ogier, 6-7 Evans, 9-15 Ogier