Based on the track record of Rallye Monte-Carlo, Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) was the overwhelming favorite to succeed him. Winner last season, the Gapençais is above all the current record holder of the number of successes on his home rally, with 9 victories including 8 in WRC, that of 2009 having been acquired within the IRC.
“My 15th Monte-Carlo Rally and my 13th podium, I can therefore be proud of my record on such a demanding rally”
But like four years ago, the eight-time world rally champion was defeated on his native land by Thierry Neuville (Hyundai). If the final gap between the two French-speaking drivers is quite similar (16.1 seconds compared to 12.6 seconds in 2020), the Belgian’s success seems much more successful this time, thanks to an impressive pace, Saturday and especially Sunday .
Thus, upon arrival, Sébastien Ogier was keen to congratulate Thierry Neuville, implicitly indicating that he could not harbor any regrets regarding the missed objective of this tenth victory in the Principality. Moreover, the native of Gap recalled his difficult personal contextafter learning of the death of his uncle last Monday, admitting that this final 2nd place still made him proud, a term he used twice in his post-race statement.
“I think I can be proud of my weekend, I tried everything. This has been a difficult week for me with a big roller coaster of emotions. On Monday I had to say goodbye to someone very important to me who basically introduced me to motorsport. The start of the event wasn’t easy for many reasons, so I’m glad we managed to stay in the fight until the end, and I think it was a super exciting fight for everyone to watch the fans. In the end, Thierry was faster this weekend and he deserved the victory. I still managed to bring strengths to the team. It’s also my 15th Monte-Carlo Rally and my 13th podium, so I can be proud of my record on such a demanding rally.”
“First of all, it’s been a nice battle with @thierryneuville. Well done to him, he has been really fast this weekend. For me it’s been a tough week. It was hard to say goodbye on Monday to a person who was very important to me, who basically launched me in motorsport and… pic.twitter.com/WorjJFMpgl
— Sébastien Ogier (@SebOgier) January 28, 2024
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To sum up
While he could improve his record of success in the Monte-Carl’, Sébastien Ogier was beaten by Thierry Neuville, as in 2020, revealing that his difficult personal context ahead of the event had had an impact on his start rally.
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