Day 1: Team by team

There was a somewhat familiar feel to the first day of the 2005 World Rally Championship. Sebastien Loeb held a dominant lead on the Monte Carlo Rally, an event he has won for the last two years, and Citroen established a stranglehold on its rivals. But there was much to look out for with so many drivers switching teams this year and so many manufacturers rebolstering their efforts in this year's WRC.

Day 1: Team by team

Autosport's rally editor David Evans gives you a run down of the first day of term from inside the service park in Monte Carlo...


Near perfect day for the Xsara WRCs and Michelin. The only problem for Sebastien Loeb and Francois Duval was a spin 15km in to the Lantsoque-Col de Braus test. Both men were caught out by snow in a braking zone, which had been thrown on the road by over-enthusiastic spectators. Loeb felt his tyre choice might have been too soft for the second stage, but he wasn't over despondent - sitting on a 32.7-second overnight lead.


Caution was the watchword for both Toni Gardemeister and Roman Kresta as they began their careers as factory Ford drivers. Each enjoyed a trouble-free day, with the highlight for the Finn coming with third fastest on the third test. Kresta moved up a gear for the second run at Lantosque-Col de Braus, posting sixth quickest to move into the top ten.


Not the best of days for the boys in blue. Both cars suffered major brake problems - particularly on the third test, where the Impreza WRCs lost stopping power with 15km of the stage remaining. Petter Solberg's day ended better than it had started, when fourth fastest time moved him into fourth overnight. Stephane Sarrazin ended the leg ninth.


Marcus Gronholm spent the day getting to grips with Pirelli tyres, while his team-mate Markko Martin was getting used to Peugeot power and Pirelli tyres. Gronholm was fastest on the second stage and held an overnight podium spot, while Martin was three places further back, having dropped 10 seconds with a stall on SS3.


As you would expect, it was Mitsubishi's asphalt ace Gilles Panizzi who led the charge of the Lancers. This was despite a gearbox problem which left the Frenchman without the use of the steering column-mounted paddle shift. Harri Rovanpera reported overheating brakes on SS1, but otherwise it was a drama-free day for the Finn.


The Czech Republic team suffered a troubled day from the off, with Armin Schwarz's throttle sticking open on stages one and two. To add insult to injury, he also had problems with the car's differentials. New boy Alex Bengue was struggling to find the right set-up for his Fabia WRC and was also hit by gremlins in the car's launch control.

shares
comments
Day 1: Loeb in charge
Previous article

Day 1: Loeb in charge

Next article

Gronholm: Citroen still ahead

Gronholm: Citroen still ahead
Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival Plus

Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival

Some 39 years on from his Monte Carlo Rally debut, World Rally Championship legend Francois Delecour continues to pick up silverware. Proving that age is purely a number, the 60-year-old's desire to compete against the WRC’s latest young talents could be the start of a new chapter in the Frenchman’s storied career

WRC
16 h
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023