Bouffier takes lead amid snow chaos

Bryan Bouffier surged from seventh place to lead the Monte Carlo Rally in a single stage as heavy snowfall turned the leaderboard inside out on SS7

Bouffier takes lead amid snow chaos

Erstwhile leader Juho Hanninen is down to fourth, 16.9 seconds behind Bouffier, and with Stephane Sarrazin and Freddy Loix between them. Petter Solberg has fallen from second to seventh place.

Bouffier both chose to take snow tyres for the stage, with Francois Delecour going further still and opting for fully-studded rubber - which looked the wrong choice during the utterly dry early miles.

But with the later part of the stage covered in snow, the two French Peugeot drivers flew to the first and second-fastest times, and moved up to first and sixth overall in the process.

Both Hanninen and Solberg chose intermediate tyres and found themselves totally without grip.

"We had intermediate tyres so it was very difficult to even get here," said Hanninen. "Not good, but this is rallying and part of Monte Carlo. We just need to focus to get to the end of this stage. It's more than difficult."

Solberg said: "With a slick intermediate it's not good, and I also had a puncture because I went off the road a little bit. That's how it is. We tried and [the snow] came much more than I expected."

Bouffier holds a 3.8s lead over Sarrazin, who admitted he was too cautious on the stage, with Loix just 1.2s further back in fourth. Guy Wilks ran winter tyres without studs too and is 8.4s behind Hanninen in fifth.

Skoda's Jan Kopecky also struggled on intermediate tyres, and could not understand how the team had misjudged the conditions so badly after falling to eighth behind Delecour and Solberg.

"If you see this weather and see our tyres, something is wrong. This should not happen," he said.

Today's final stage is now underway and is covered in snow throughout. Many of the drivers on the wrong tyres for SS7 have two studded or winter tyres in their cars' boots as alternatives.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Bryan Bouffier Peugeot 1h52m54.3s 2. Stephane Sarrazin Peugeot + 3.8s 3. Freddy Loix Skoda + 5.0s 4. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 16.9s 5. Guy Wilks Peugeot + 25.3s 6. Francois Delecour Peugeot + 55.8s 7. Petter Solberg Peugeot + 1m03.6s 8. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 1m14.7s 9. Nicolas Vouilloz Skoda + 4m22.7s 10. Julien Maurin Ford + 4m45.1s 
shares
comments
Hanninen: Solberg isn't beaten yet

Previous article

Hanninen: Solberg isn't beaten yet

Next article

Bouffier leads into final day of Monte

Bouffier leads into final day of Monte
Load comments
Ireland deserves a WRC round Plus

Ireland deserves a WRC round

Drivers are in accordance: Ireland should be in the World Rally Championship. DAVID EVANS followed the Circuit of Ireland and was left with no doubt that the drivers are right

ERC
Apr 23, 2014
Kubica's rally to recovery Plus

Kubica's rally to recovery

Robert Kubica's rally speed is obviously there - in abundance - but he's got to stop crashing. Charles Bradley went to the Azores to get the lowdown on the ex-F1 star's comeback trail

ERC
May 3, 2013
Why Kubica can win on ERC debut Plus

Why Kubica can win on ERC debut

Former GP winner Robert Kubica makes his international comeback this week in the Canaries Rally. And David Evans reckons he'll win aboard a Citroen DS3 RRC

ERC
Mar 21, 2013
Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old Plus

Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old

As the IRC to ERC transformation takes effect in Austria, David Evans is excited that the IRC's promotional strengths will carry over - but still wishes the WRC could get some of that magic

ERC
Jan 3, 2013
Farewell IRC, long live ERC Plus

Farewell IRC, long live ERC

As the Intercontinental Rally Challenge prepares for its swansong in Cyprus, David Evans recalls the shortlived series' heyday - and looks ahead to its European successor

ERC
Nov 1, 2012
The 2011 IRC season review Plus

The 2011 IRC season review

The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season

ERC
Nov 22, 2011
Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally Plus

Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally

This year is the Monte Carlo Rally's centenary and, just as in recent years, there's no shortage of World Rally Championship stars turning up to give the IRC regulars a run for their money

ERC
Jan 18, 2011
The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010 Plus

The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010

The competition didn't run as deep as it might have, but there was plenty of fight at the front with six of our top 10 winning rallies during the season. Matt Beer puts them in order

ERC
Nov 29, 2010