Ogier wins Monte on M-Sport debut

  • Spectator injured, dies later in hospital
  • M-Sport came close to a 1-2 rally finish
  • ‘Tough to be out first in the snow’ – Ogier
GETTING A HIGH IN THE ALPS: Frenchman Sebastien Ogier had a dream finish - he won - from the 2017 Monte Carlo, the first event of the season's World Rally champiionship. Image: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull
GETTING A HIGH IN THE ALPS: Frenchman Sebastien Ogier had a dream finish – he won – from the 2017 Monte Carlo, the first event of the season’s World Rally championship. Image: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull

MONTE CARLO, Monaco – Frenchman Sebastien Ogier won the Monte Carlo rally on Sunday after three days of racing in the first WRC event of the season.

In what was his debut for the M-Sport team he took the lead after Thierry Neuville’s car had a rear suspension problem on Saturday.

Ogier, already a four-times World champion, led home Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala by 2min15, the latter giving a podium place to Toyota on its return to WRC after 17 years.

NEXT RALLY SCHEDULED FOR SWEDEN

M-Sport could have had a 1-2 but Estonian Ott Tanak slipped from second after suffering an engine problem on the final stages but he still finished finished third, 2min:57.8 behind Ogier.

WATCH STAGE 3-5 highlights from the 2017 Monte Carlo rally 

It was Ogier’s 39th career win. He said after the finish: “I was hoping to win but to do so in the first race after only a month’s preparation was incredible. Conditions did not make things easy – it was tough to be the first out on to the snow on Friday.”

The second WRC leg will be raced in Sweden over February 9-12.

106-YEAR HISTORY FOR FAMOUS RALLY

Always bad news from a motorsport event was the death later in hospital of a spectator hit by Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai on Stage 1, which was cancelled and the car was withdrawn from the rally.

TRIUMPH IN THE ALPS: Julien Ingrassia and Sébastien Ogier celebrate victory in the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally. Image: Red Bull
TRIUMPH IN THE ALPS: Julien Ingrassia and Sébastien Ogier celebrate victory in the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally. Image: Red Bull

Rallye Monte-Carlo is the WRC’s jewel in its crown and the oldest in the calendar, having been raced for the first time in 1911 as a promotion for Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination.

CENTURY OF RALLYING: Though the World Rally championship is technically 106 years old, the jewel of the series will always be Monte Carlo.
CENTURY OF RALLYING: Though the World Rally championship is technically 106 years old, the jewel of the series will always be Monte Carlo.

Back then, however, competitors started from various European cities before gathering in Monaco.

The 1966 rally is forever burned into rally fans’ brains when the giant-killing Mini Coopers claimed the top three places before being disqualified for alleged infringements of headlight regulations.

Yeah, that was fair…

Result from the 2017 Rally of Monaco on Sunday
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) Ford 4hr03min06
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Toyota +02min15.0
3 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +02min57.8
4 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai +03min35.8
5 Craig Breen (Ireland) Citroen +03min47.8
6 Elfyn Evans (Britain) Ford +06min45.0
7 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) Skoda +09min32.7
8 Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic) Skoda +12min58.1
9 Stephane Lefebvre (France) Citroen +14min43.8
10 Bryan Bouffier (France) Ford +16min09.4

Drivers’ standings
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) M-Sport World Rally Team – 25
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Toyota Gazoo Racing – 18
3 Ott Taenak (Estonia) M-Sport World Rally Team – 15
4 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai Motorsport – 13
5 Craig Breen (Ireland)

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