Rallye Monte-Carlo, first round of WRC 2014 has just came to an end, and the championship has begun. The man who made the perfect start was Sebastien Ogier with his Polo WRC, defending his title. But everyones attention was on the Korean car maker Hyundai, a.k.a Hyundai Shell WRT. But when the rally began it was over for Hyundai, as their top driver Thierry Neuvillecrashed out in the very first stage , it was third time the Belgian was out of Rallye Monte Carlo on the first day, may be Monte is a not so lucky for ‘Belgian Bullet’! It was not over yet, after four more stages Dani Sordo was out, it was not a driver error this time, but alternator failure of i20 WRC, with that both the cars were out leaving behind a huge disappointment in Hyundaicamp.
Very first stage was won by Pole Robert Kubica, showing what he can do in a WRC machine, going quicker than Ogier. Followed by another win on SS2, and from then drama began, wrong tyre choices left some drivers stranded, Ogier dropped to ninth place in just one stage and Bouffier moved to top, and after end of Leg 1 Frenchman Bouffier was in the lead. Ogier managed to jump to fourth. Rober Kubica and Kris Meeke in second and third repectively.
Leg 2 of Rallye Monte Carlo was set for Frenchman’s battle for top spot, Ogier won the first stage of the day and next was Bouffier’s turn to take a stage win and from then Ogier was unstoppable, winning all stages except last one of the day and few mistakes by Bouffier which costed him the lead, ending day two in second place. In between that Robert Kubica went off on SS8 a disssapointing end to battle with Kris Meeke. Fellow Citroen driver Mads Ostberg was on fourth place , Latvala fifth and M-Sport drivers Evans and Hirvonen sixth and seventh respectively.
After end of Leg 2 it was Ogier’s rally to loose, as only four more stages for the third leg which he won two of that and the rally. But drama was still not over, Mikko Hirvonen’s Fiesta WRC gave up with an alternator failure with only Power stage to go, big disappointment for the Finn. Latvalawon the final Power stage and Ogier won the rally, Bouffier finished as runner up with a fine drive. Kris Meeke had a strong weekend and ended in a podium finish with his team mate Mads Ostberg in fourth. Elfyn Evans was impressive on his Monte debut finishing sixth. Andreas Mikkelsen and Melicharek rounded off the top eight finishers.
WRC 2 victory went to Yuriy Protasov, his maiden win in the category, Bertelli and Barrable rounding off the top three spots. Sebastien Chardonnet took WRC 3 win with a strong drive in his Citroen DS3 R3T.
Well Monte is over for now, next trip for WRC crews is the frozen forests of Scandinavia Rally Sweden. Plenty of action awaited! Untill then Happy Rallying!
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