Neuville takes impressive Monte Carlo Rally victory

Neuville takes impressive Monte Carlo Rally WRC victory

Fastest after Saturday, fastest on Sunday, Power Stage win and overall rally win: it’s a perfect score for Thierry Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe at the WRC Rallye Monte Carlo.

The Hyundai i20 N star opened his 2024 FIA World Rally Championship title bid with a sublime performance in the French Alps, mastering the ice-patched mountain roads to head Toyota Gazoo Racing rival Sébastien Ogier by 16.1sec.

Neuville shrugged aside early engine issues before launching an attack on Saturday, overtaking both Ogier and his GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans to storm into the lead with a slender 3.3sec advantage. A clean sweep of fastest times in Sunday’s final leg cemented his position ahead of the nine-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner.

“I don’t have the words, to be honest,” beamed an elated Neuville after finishing the final stage on the iconic Col de Turini. “It was just so great this weekend, I felt so comfortable in the car.

“The whole team was doing an amazing job and I think the whole package was working really well. There are always things to improve so of course we need to continue working, but we are very happy to win this rally,” he added.

Ogier led for a single stage on Saturday afternoon, but the Frenchman could not repel Neuville despite his best efforts. “It’s been a nice battle with Thierry. Well done to him, he has been really fast this weekend,” he admitted.

Evans held the upper hand after the first two legs but time ebbed away from him on Saturday, not helped by a hybrid unit problem. He eventually finished 29.1sec behind his team-mate Ogier.

Tänak fourth, career-best for Fourmaux, Rossel takes WRC2 win in last stage

Ott Tänak placed fourth on his first rally back in Hyundai colours. Mystery engine problems hindered the 2019 WRC champion throughout the rally although a stage win on Saturday morning proved his potential with the i20 N car.

Adrien Fourmaux equalled his career-best result by finishing fifth overall in his M-Sport Ford Puma. Behind him was Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen, with Takamoto Katsuta almost three minutes further back after sliding off the road on Friday.

Yohan Rossel claimed the WRC2 victory with a last-gasp Wolf Power Stage push, climbing to eighth overall in the process. He passed Pepe López in the finale while Nikolay Gryazin rounded out the top 10. Jan Černý took victory in WRC3 and Mauro Miele won the WRC Masters Cup, while López topped the WRC2 Challenger standings.

Next up for the WRC is Rally Sweden in the Umeå region from February 15-18.

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WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2024 – Final results

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Neuville / WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally13:09:30.9
2.Ogier / LandaisToyota GR Yaris Rally1+16.1
3.Evans / MartinToyota GR Yaris Rally1+45.2
4.Tänak / JärveojaHyundai i20 N Rally1+1:59.8
5.Fourmaux / CoriaFord Puma Rally1+3:36.9
6.Mikkelsen / EriksenHyundai i20 N Rally1+5:34.6
7.Katsuta / JohnstonToyota GR Yaris Rally1+8:28.5
8.Rossel / DunandCitroën C3 Rally2+10:29.8
9.López / VázquezSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+10:33.8
10.Gryazin / AleksandrovCitroën C3 Rally2+10:45.2

WRC 2024 Drivers’ Championship – Standings after Round 1/13 [Top 10]

1.Thierry Neuville30
2.Sébastien Ogier24 (-6)
3.Elfyn Evans21 (-9)
4.Ott Tänak15 (-15)
5.Adrien Fourmaux11 (-19)
6.Takamoto Katsuta9 (-21)
7.Andreas Mikkelsen6 (-24)
8.Nikolay Gryazin3 (-27)
9.Pepe López2 (-28)
10.Yohan Rossel1 (-29)

WRC 2024 Manufacturers’ Championship – Standings after Round 1/13

1.Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT46
2.Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT45 (-1)
3.M-Sport Ford WRT19 (-27)

Photo, text: Red Bull Content Pool