Was it too much for Bryan Bouffier to handle or was it simply the world champion had determined a comeback day, but it was Sebastien Ogier who flew through the day with maximum attack to take the lead from his fellow compatriot. Being in a privateer+Msport-supported entry into top level rallying, in Monte up and against the biggies, definitely deserves a loud applaud to the Frenchman. Bravo Bouffier!
SS8 Selonnet – Breziers, [22.68 km] was where Bouffier showed his best skills and took the stage win with just 0.2s to the world champion, despite reported presence of ice on the stage. M-Sport driver Mikko Hirvonen had issues with a misted windscreen, up until the last three kilometers at which it cleared.
Ah, also it is in this stage that Ogier & Mads Ostberg and other fast runners, who had to go off the road just after flying finish to avoid collision with the car & people ahead at the stop control, which was reportedly located in just around 100mts from the flying finish. It was reported as ‘6th gear flatout at the flying finish‘ by Mads, and the short tarmac section wet with rain was not sufficient enough to stop the car within that the control zone. However, nothing uneventful happened, with the presence of mind of the drivers and the cars left towards the mid-day service. Lucky or crazy? Lucky, I guess!
SS10 – Sisteron-Thoard 36.85 km, is a piece of history and very Iconic to Rallye MonteCarlo & Carlos Sainz holds the record here way back in 1993 in a Lancia Delta HF Integrale. It is a very fast run up to the ascent and then a much slower and technical run back down to the finish. Ogier was quickest, Boufffier & Mads finish behind him. Andreas Mikkelsen had an incident at 27 km mark, and had stopped after going off the road. They had to convince some 6-7 spectators, who seemed not to be confident / bothered to push him back, until sometime after they did it successfully.