Monte Carlo Rally 2014


By: Matt Beer, David Evans, Scott Mitchell


Status: Stopped
Next up on AUTOSPORT Live will be our as-it-happens coverage of the first 2014 Formula 1 test from Jerez, starting on Tuesday January 28.

Then AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live returns on Thursday February 6, when we're back in World Rally Championship action for Rally Sweden - and more snow.

Our final set of results from Monte Carlo:

SS15 times: 1 Latvala 10m41.5s; 2 Ogier +0.2s; 3 Meeke +4.9s; 4 Bouffier +17.9s; 5 Mikkelsen +19.7s; 6 Ostberg +21.1s

Final overall top six: 1 Ogier; 2 Bouffier +1m18.9s; 3 Meeke +1m54.3s; 4 Ostberg +3m53.9s; 5 Latvala +6m08.3s; 6 Evans +8m37.4s.
Thanks for your company on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live this weekend - there have been a lot of you, and you've had a classic rally to enjoy.

OK, it's another Ogier win by a huge margin, but let's not forget he was 1m20s down and only ninth after three stages, we had Kubica leading SS1-2, Bouffier leading SS3-8, Bouffier and Meeke on the podium... heavy snow, torrential rain, surprise ice...


While we wait for Gamba to come through...

AUTOSPORT is seriously tempted to do the double this year...

The Monte Carlo Historique starts next week. The concentration runs go from Glasgow, Oslo and Monaco to Valence for the start on Wednesday and the event finishes a week on Tuesday.

And we'll bet it'll still be raining...
If you want to recap everything that's happened this weekend...

Monte Carlo Rally report
There was a late change on the WRC2 podium, as a badly-misted windscreen earlier today delayed Robert Barrable enough for Lorenzo Bertelli to snatch second, despite having to struggle with front-wheel-drive-only for a spell this afternoon.
The final WRC2 cars are coming now, then it will be S2000 underdog Matteo Gamba completing our lead pack by securing a shock ninth overall.
Yuriy Protasov is about to get his first WRC2 win, and Hirvonen's retirement will mean he scores an outright point in 10th overall too.
Meeke gets one bonus point, he was 5s behind Latvala in third on the stage.
That was very, very close - Latvala wins the power stage by just 0.2s over Ogier.
Ogier comes through and wins the 2014 Monte Carlo Rally!

Latvala gets the three power stage points.
What next for Bouffier?

Well we'll see him on the ERC in a fortnight as he's just signed up to do round two in Latvia in a Citroen RRC. He'll be up against Craig Breen, Esapekka Lappi, Sepp Wiegand and Kajetan Kajetanowicz there in what should be a decent battle up front.

Beyond that...?

Bouffier was the only member of Hyundai's 2013 testing roster who didn't get called up for a rally seat this year. He hopes this result will change that...
Bouffier's end-of-rally interview with the media scrummed round his car mostly consists of the word "fantastic" repeated multiple times.
No he doesn't, he drops time at the finish. But that's still an extraordinary second overall.
Spurt of pace from Bouffier on the final part of this stage... he could snatch the power stage points from Latvala...
If Bouffier had beaten Ogier to victory this weekend it would have been one of the biggest shocks in WRC history.

Unless Ogier makes a huge error in the next few minutes, Bouffier is going to be second this time - and that is still an astounding result for a man with barely any WRC experience.
So just two men to come through. They're both French, and they've both won this event in the IRC - and back then both results were a bit of a surprise.
Hirvonen is stopped on the stage. We thought his start to the season couldn't get any worse. It seems to have done.
Meeke thanks Citroen team boss Yves Matton for giving him this chance.

After Meeke's shunts on his two audition outings last year, Matton had to think very long and very hard about giving him another chance.

He'll be glad he did now.
And that's Britain's first WRC podium since Richard Burns in Australia in 2003, we reckon.
If Ostberg is happy with fourth, then Meeke can be absolutely ecstatic with third as he makes it home safely.

It's his first ever outright WRC podium, at the start of his career lifeline full season with Citroen.

No crashes this time, no mistakes, only 4.9s slower than Latvala so there might be some bonus points too.
Ostberg comes home fourth, and is thrilled with that on his Citroen debut.

"It's been unreal. I said that last year, so I can't say that again... But it's been really, really tough. So many big challenges.

"I'm really happy with what we've done. Fourth place in Monte Carlo on my first rally with the team is like a victory for me."

He's now very fired up to try to win in Sweden next month, having always starred on that event.
Hirvonen has made it onto the stage but is a long way off the pace. Sixth looks to belong to Evans.
Far from a trouble-free run for Latvala too:

"I tried to push a bit harder but there was a lot of standing water and I had a problem with my lights at the start - not all of them would come on.

"There was some nasty water on the road, but overall that was a good run."
Latvala is fastest on the stage so far by some distance.

Fifth place and a potential power stage bonus would be a good 'save' for a man who was only 19th after SS3.
Evans finishes the stage. That should be sixth place on his Monte debut, an achievement he's pretty calm about.

"We came here to finish the rally and we have done. It's been a difficult one but at least we're here at the end."
Mikkelsen and Melicharek secure eighth and ninth positions.

Here's the VW man's verdict on his weekend:

"It's been a really tricky event, for sure. A lot of conditions that I've never run in before. A huge learning experience. I'm so happy I got to the finish.

"This stage was really tricky, no rhythm at all. It was so foggy."
Latvala is setting an incredible pace through this stage.

Mikkelsen makes it to the finish.
Added headache for Mikkelsen is that he's set to catch Melicharek on the stage.

Not ideal when you already can't see where you're going in the rain and fog.
Still no sign of Hirvonen onto the stage. Latvala has now started and is quickest so far.
Mikkelsen is driving almost blind by the look of things.

Volkswagen: "The rain on SS15 is so heavy that Mikkelsen switched off the big lights. Visibility better this way. Well, kind of."
Eighteen years ago, AUTOSPORT was a bit disappointed that British championship star Gwyndaf Evans' WRC chance with Ford fizzled out.

So seeing his son make such a superb start is very pleasing.
These problems for Mikko mean there is an increasingly good chance that Evans is going to take a top-six finish on his Monte Carlo debut, and a second top six in as many top-class WRC starts.
Hirvonen is going to be running out of order. Evans has started the stage ahead of him.
Ingrassia's watch

Ingrassia's watch

Another bit of trivia to squeeze in before the leaders get going:

The co-drivers all wear Fastime's Co-pilot watch and when they become a world champion they have a unique watch made.

Sebastien Loeb's sidekick Daniel Elena had nine gold watches (that's not meant as rhyming slang...) Ogier's partner while Julien Ingrassia has gone for a different design.
Looks like the struggling Hirvonen might be late onto the stage. Tracking shows him some distance from the start and he's due next after Mikkelsen.
Oh it's also reported to be foggy.
That geeky maths stats interlude has neatly filled the gap before the start of tonight's final stage. Melicharek is due onto Sospel now.

It's even wetter than it was this afternoon. And this afternoon was almost flooded in places, and in others there were rivers running across the course, so standing water and aquaplaning is potentially an issue.
Power stage points are on offer for Sospel.

How much do those extra three points matter when you get 25 for a win? Well, they might make a difference.

In 2012, without what he'd scored on power stages, Latvala wouldn't have beaten Ostberg to third in the championship, while in 2011 Loeb's title-winning margin over Hirvonen would've just been one point (not eight) if you discount what they each took in bonus scores.

Last year the only real effect of power stages was that Ogier added a maximum bonus score in five of his winning rallies, which made his wins even more depressing for everyone he was beating by miles in the championship.
New start time for SS15 is 9.14pm local time, in just over five minutes. That's nine minutes down on the original schedule.