Sébastien Loeb has claimed his 80th WRC victory at Rally Monte Carlo after a dramatic final day. The nine-time WRC champion won the rally by 10.5 seconds over Sébastien Ogier and is the first driver to win a rally with a hybrid powertrain.
Ogier had a 21.1-second advantage over Loeb leading into the final day of the rally. Loeb won the opening stage by 1.1s over Ogier to reduce the gap to 20 seconds. In SS15, Ogier reacted and increased the gap by 4.6 seconds to 24.6 seconds overall.
Thierry Neuville won SS15 to claim Hyundai’s first stage win of the season. It means that all three new Rally1 cars have won a stage this rally.
Disaster struck for Ogier in the penultimate stage as he punctured his front-left tyre and lost 34.1 seconds to Loeb who took the stage win in SS16. It meant that Loeb now led the rally by 9.5 seconds with only the final Power Stage to go.
Ogier sets blistering Power Stage pace
Ogier completed the Power Stage before Loeb and set the fastest time by going two seconds faster than Rovanperä benchmark. However, he had jumped the start and therefore received a 10 second time penalty. Loeb completed the Power Stage nine seconds slower than Ogier which would have been enough to claim the rally win by just half a second.
Loeb wins the rally with a 10.5 second margin with Ogier’s penalty applied. It’s Loeb’s 80th World Rally Championship victory and his first win without Daniel Elena next to him reading the pace notes. It means that Isabella Galmiche wins her first WRC win.
Loeb’s win with the Puma Rally1 marks M-Sport’s Ford first WRC win since Sébastien Ogier won Wales Rally GB in 2018 in the Fiesta WRC.
Rovanperä wins Power Stage, Breen takes podium
Ogier’s jump start penalty means that Kalle Rovanperä takes the five maximum points from the Power Stage. The young Finn therefore sits third in the championship behind Loeb and Ogier is likely to be first on the road in Sweden next month as it is expected Loeb and Ogier won’t compete the event.
Breen ends the rally on the podium and holds fourth in the championship, two points behind Rovanperä. Gus Greensmith backed his first WRC stage win on Friday and finishes the rally in fifth ahead of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and WRC2 winner Andreas Mikkelsen.
Takamoto Katsuta finished eighth in Monte, just 4.5 seconds ahead of Erik Cais. Nikolay Gryazin concluded the top 10.
In the Manufactures’ championship, it’s M-Sport that leads the way after the first event with 42 points. Toyota is second, just 3 points adrift from the British squad. Hyundai leaves Monaco with 13 points on the board.
Next up on the WRC 2022 calendar is Rally Sweden from February 24 – 27.
WRC Rally Monte Carlo 2022 Results
|#||Drivers||Car||Time / Diff. to 1st|
|1.||Loeb / Galmiche||Ford Puma Rally1||3:00:32.8|
|2.||Ogier / Veillas||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+10.5|
|3.||Breen / Nagle||Ford Puma Rally1||+1:39.8|
|4.||Rovanperä / Halttunen||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+2:16.2|
|5.||Greensmith / Andersson||Ford Puma Rally1||+6:33.4|
|6.||Neuville / Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+7:42.6|
|7.||Mikkelsen / Eriksen||Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo||+11:33.8|
|8.||Katsuta / Johnston||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+12:24.7|
|9.||Cais / Těšínský||Ford Fiesta Rally2||+12:29.2|
|10.||Gryazin / Aleksandrov||Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo||+13:41.3|
WRC 2022 Drivers’ Championship standings after Round 1/13 [Top 10]
WRC 2022 Manufacturers’ Championship standings after Round 1/13
|1.||M-Sport Ford WRT||42|
|2.||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||39|
|3.||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||13|
|4.||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG||8|
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool