Sébastien Ogier might have started Sunday’s final leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo with a two-minute lead, but he continued to top the timesheets through the opening speed test in the mountains above Monaco.
The Frenchman even shocked himself by setting fastest time in his Volkswagen Polo R through the 12.60km test, 0.7sec clear of Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20.
“I was surprised to be fastest. I didn’t have the best tyre choice for this stage. We choose super soft compounds to be careful for the next stage over the Col de Turini, which will be more slippery,” he said.
Honours were pretty much even in the fight for second between Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville. The Belgian was faster by 0.9sec in his i20 to leave his deficit at 11.6sec with two stages remaining.
Neuville stopped on the liaison section before the stage to work on his car. “We had some problems but we fixed it. Something was touching but it was nothing mechanical,” he said.
Mikkelsen was relaxed about the day ahead. “Thierry has soft tyres, which were a better choice for this stage than my super softs. I knew I would lose some time here but the next stage is wet and my tyres will be better there,” he explained.