Sebastien Loeb (Ford) ahead of Sebastien Ogier (Toyota). The duel is now engaged at the head of the 90th Rallye Monte-Carlo. Summary and results of this Friday.
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Sebastien Loeb can he become the oldest driver in history to win a world championship rally*? The question arises after the first full day of Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 2022 WRC season. At the wheel of his Ford Puma Rally1, the Alsatian won four of the six special stages of the day, overtaking Sébastien Ogier’s Toyota, leading the winter classic on Thursday evening.
“It was a very beautiful day, explained Sébastien Loeb at the microphone of WRC All Live. I was surprised yesterday to set the best time in the shakedown (the rehearsal stage on Thursday morning, editor’s note). Since then, we try to push, to have good feelings. It’s not a big gap, but I’m happy to lead after today.
Imperial morning for Sébastien Loeb! 🔝
– CANAL+ Sport (@CanalplusSport) January 21, 2022
At scratch, Sébastien Loeb (Ford) leads Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) by 9.9 seconds while eight of the seventeen timed sections of the Rallye Monte-Carlo 2022 have been contested. The nine-time world champion had not competed in a WRC rally for 16 months and made his first outing at the highest level this weekend with his co-driver, Isabelle Galmiche.
=> Who is Isabelle Galmiche?
Behind the Ford M-Sport driver, we find the two Toyotas of Sébastien Ogier (2nd at 9.9 s.) and Elfyn Evans (3rd at 22.0 s.). At ease on Thursday evening – he had won the two stages contested in the light of the headlights, including the mythical ES of the Col de Turini – the Gapençais only posted one best time today. “This morning, we were careful, explained Sébastien Ogier. This afternoon, we pushed harder, but it was difficult to go faster. The car still lacks rear stability« .
Behind him, Elfyn Evans performs a quick but wise rally, probably thinking of his chances in the drivers’ world championship (Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb will not compete for the entire season).
Ford laughs, Hyundai cries
Behind the top three, the Hyundais had a lackluster day, accumulating problems with their hybrid systems. Thierry Neuville (4th at 47.8s) and Ott Tänak (5th at 56.7s) saved the day, but have not yet found a sufficient level of confidence to operate the i20 N Rally1. Oliver Solberg (10th at 2:22) had a “galley” Friday repeatedly failing to make mistakes on roads made tricky by frost.
The nice surprise of the day was the level of performance of Gus Greensmith (7th at 1:08 from Loeb). The Mancunian signed his first stage victory on the Guillaume – Péone – Valberg section, letting his joy burst aboard his Ford Puma: “It is difficult to put words to the exceptional level of this car” he reacted.
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) January 21, 2022
The Ford driver notably took advantage of some temporary hybrid system problems on the car of leader Sébastien Loeb, to appear at the top of the table.
Ovens in barrels
Author of a remarkable first evening – he occupied 4th place overall – Adrien Fourmaux (Ford) has lost all his chances from the first SS of this Friday. Victim of understeer, the Northerner hit an embankment before seeing his Puma perform a series of rolls in a ravine.
💥 ADRIEN FOURMAUX’S BIG CRASH!
— Off Track (@OffTrack_FR) January 21, 2022
The Northerner and his co-driver Alexandre Coria are unscathed.
=> The Fourmaux accident from all angles
WRC-2: Lefebvre in the lead
In WRC-2, the Niçois Eric Camilli (Citroën) was forced to retire after hitting a stone. He is now another Frenchman – Stéphane Lefebvre – who occupies the first place in Rally2 (11th overall) with an advantage of less than 2 seconds over the experienced Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda). Yohan Rossel (Citroën) remains in ambush, 19 seconds behind the leader in “Ligue 2”.
Raphaël Astier leads the R-GT at the wheel of his Alpine A110 (17th overall) ahead of Manu Guigou (20th). Veterans Freddy Loix (Skoda) and François Delecour (Alpine) occupy 31st and 32nd positions overall.
Saturday, five specials are on the menu for the crews. The piece of choice will be the mythical Saint-Geniez – Thoard section, played at midday.
Friday night standings
- Loeb / Galmiche (Ford)
- Ogier / Veillas (Toyota) + 9.9
- Evans / Martin (Toyota) + 22.0
- Neuville / Wydaeghe (Hyundai) + 47.8
- Breen / Nagle (Ford) + 56.7
- Tänak / Järveoja (Hyundai) + 59.2
- Greensmith / Andersson (Ford) + 1:08.4
- Katsuta / Johnston (Toyota) + 1: 35.9
- Rovanperä / Halttunen (Toyota) + 2: 12.8
- Solberg / Edmondson (Hyundai) + 2:22.9
- Lefebvre / Malfoy (Citroen Rally2) + 4:29.7
- Mikkelsen / Eriksen (Skoda Rally2) + 4: 31.1
- Rossel / Boulloud (Citroën Rally2) + 4: 48.8
- Bulacia / The Ohannesian (Skoda Rally2) + 5:38.6
* The record belongs to Björn Waldegård, winner of the 1990 Safari Rally at the age of 46. Sébastien Loeb is now 47 years old.
To read on auto-moto.com:
2022 WRC calendar: rally dates and times
Monte-Carlo Rally 2022: reveal of the entry list (info, timetables, route)
Can Sébastien Loeb win on his return to rallying?
10 things you didn’t know about the Monte-Carlo Rally
Video flashback: the 1993 Monte Carl’ seen from the side of the road
Why do rally drivers cross their tires?
The video that proves Colin McRae was a genius
What are the forerunners used for in rallies?