Monte Carlo Rally

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By: AUTOSPORT staff, Scott Mitchell

Summary

Status: Stopped
08:20 Well, that was a thoroughly enjoyable end to the 2015 season opener.

Yes, yes, we all wanted a Loeb-Ogier fight on the final day. But there was still plenty of drama, some great scraps and stellar performances.

We'll leave you with the championship standings after the first round. Thanks very much for joining us, and a reminder that AUTOSPORT Live resumes next Sunday for the start of Formula 1 testing while Race Centre Live returns for Rally Sweden in the middle of February (12-15).

Drivers' standings:

1 Ogier, 25
2 Latvala, 19
3 Mikkelsen, 15
4 Ostberg, 12
5 Neuville, 10
6 Sordo, 8
7 Loeb, 7
8 Evans, 6
9 Meeke, 4
10 Prokop, 2

Full Monte WRC statistics available on FORIX

Full Monte Carlo report here

08:14 Reaction from the two VW drivers and to be honest you do have to think the following words reflect rather a lot on each of them.

Ogier: "It's a huge challenge but the satisfaction is even more when you make it. Conditions were so tricky this year. It means a lot, especially for me, so close to my home town."

Latvala: "I'm delighted! This is much more than I expected, before the rally I was thinking fourth or fifth. I must thank my ice crew for their information."
08:03 And the WRC2 battle has now been settled as well, with Stephane Lefebvre's crushing victory confirmed.

Congratulations to Craig Breen, fastest again on SS15 to consolidate second place in class ahead of Armin Kremer.
08:02 And also the final standings of the first round of the 2015 WRC:

Monte Carlo Rally result:

1 OGIER 3h36m40.2s
2 Latvala +58.0s
3 Mikkelsen +2m12.3s
4 Ostberg +2m43.6s
5 Neuville +3m12.1s
6 Sordo +3m12.9s
7 Evans +5m23.7s
8 Loeb +8m34.7s
9 Prokop +9m54.8s
10 Meeke +10m55.6s

And a tip of the hat to the luckless Robert Kubica as well.
08:00 Confirmation of Kris Meeke's excellent powerstage win then:

Leading SS15 times:

1 Meeke 6m30.5s (3 points)
2 Loeb +0.2s (2 points)
3 Latvala +1.9s (1 points)

4 Ogier +2.7s
5 Mikkelsen +4.4s
6 Neuville +4.5s
7 Chardonnet +5.4s
8 Sordo +5.5s
9 Tanak +7.3s
10 Evans +8.3s
07:51 "Victory in Monte Carlo means a lot," smiles a delighted Ogier, with this rally in his backyard. "Especially for me. It's the most important to win all season. It's a huge challenge.

"The atmosphere was just magic."
07:50 Ogier doesn't get inside the top three. It's only fourth for the world champion, in between his two VW team-mates.

But that doesn't bother Ogier or co-driver Ingrassia.

THEY'VE WON THE 2015 MONTE CARLO RALLY!
07:46 Latvala's ends the stage in 6m32.4s to go third fastest - a bonus point for the Finn unless Ogier can pull it out of the bag.
07:46 Ogier gets to the mid-point of the stage and is only sixth at present.
07:44 Still a bit of angst from Ostberg, who wants parity in Sweden.

"Again very lucky, same engine problem again, so we had to stop," he says to explain his slow time.

"I'll be in the new car for Sweden so hopefully it won't happen again. I'm pleased to be here without any mistakes from my side."
07:43 As Latvala comes across the first split, third fastest and 1.4s slower than Meeke, Ogier starts the stage.

The end is nigh!
07:42 The TV shots from the helicopter are breathtaking.

What an absolutely mega event the Monte is.
07:41 Mikkelsen's 1.9s down on Meeke at the first split.
07:40 There's fourth place overall confirmed for Ostberg, though his powerstage effort is only good enough for ninth.
07:39 Latvala's powerstage run begins.
07:39 A very poor first split from Ostberg, who's on the stage.

His brilliant SS14 run had put him about half a minute from Mikkelsen in third. It was never likely to translate into a podium but it looks as though the Citroen man has made a mistake early in this run.
07:37 ...and Sordo doesn't do enough!

He's fifth fastest on the stage, 6m36.0s.

Neuville nicks fifth overall from his team-mate!
07:37 The target for Sordo is 6m35.1s...
07:37 Mikkelsen starts the stage.
07:35 Big cheer for Neuville as he crosses the line.

"It feels great," says the first-time Monte finisher. "It's an honour to do such a nice sport."

He's loving experiencing the rally for a bit longer than he has previously.
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