Rallye Monte-Carlo: Day 1
A strong start for the new Toyota Yaris WRC drivers
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s all-new driver line-up made a stunning start as Rallye Monte-Carlo got underway with two tricky night-time stages. Sébastien Ogier won his very first stage in the Toyota Yaris WRC and ended the night in second overall, with Elfyn Evans only two places behind, and top-level newcomer Kalle Rovanperä in seventh.
Following Wednesday afternoon’s shakedown, the rally began from Monte Carlo’s famous harbourside this evening before the crews tackled the first two competitive stages, where the range of weather conditions were typical of the event.
The first stage took place on dry asphalt, where Ogier set the fastest time and Evans was third quickest, just 1.9 seconds behind. Rovanperä also shone in his first stage at this level, recording the fifth best time ahead of a seven-time winner of the event.
Conditions were much tougher in the second stage with a mixture of snow and ice. Ogier still set the second-best time and ends the day 19.1 seconds from the lead. Evans was fourth fastest and holds the same position overall, just 0.3s from third place. Rovanperä also got safely through the second stage and is seventh.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It was a very good start for our team tonight. In the first stage, both Sébastien and Elfyn were excellent. I know that they both have a good feeling in the car and they are confident. Kalle was very good too: he was with a softer tyre and he overheated it a bit. On the second stage the conditions were very difficult, but all the guys got through it and they are in a good position with a very long way still to go.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“We had a good start in the first stage, but it was probably one of the easier stages we’ll face this weekend with quite dry conditions and very constant grip. We knew the second stage would be the biggest challenge of the night. The conditions were much more tricky, and I adapted my rhythm a little bit too much, I was a bit too cautious and lost a bit of time. But still we are here, we didn’t make any mistakes and the rally is very long, so I think it’s not a bad start.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It was a difficult evening with a very difficult tyre call. We knew that the first stage was more or less dry, and then we were faced with a stage that was quite damp and a few icy patches with plummeting temperatures down to below zero. I’m not sure if there was a right or wrong tyre choice, looking at the times. With a mixed tyre package it’s very difficult to have a good feeling, but it was nice to get behind the wheel of the car and we can build on this for tomorrow. ”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It felt really nice to do my first WRC stages in a World Rally Car tonight. The first stage was a proper asphalt stage and there we had quite an OK time and I was enjoying the car a lot. Then the second one was proper Monte, with ice and snow and mud, and we went really safely there. But it’s better to be here than not. It was really tricky, I didn’t have these kind of conditions in my test, and I was learning a lot, but it was a careful run. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
End of day one (Thursday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 26m23.5s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +19.1s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +25.1s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +25.4s
5 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +51.0s
6 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m07.8s
7 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m18.5s
8 Eric Camilli/François-Xavier Buresi (Citroën C3 R5) +1m58.6s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +1m59.6s
10 Stéphane Sarrazin/Kévin Parent (Hyundai i20 R5) +2m19.6s
(Results as of 23:30 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The first full day of the rally is the longest of the event, with a total of 122.58 competitive kilometres. Three stages around Gap are each run twice, including the brand-new Saint-Clément – Freissinières test.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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