WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Neuville leads after Ogier and Meeke dramas

Thierry Neuville leads the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally by just over a half a minute, after Sebastien Ogier and Kris Meeke both went off on Friday morning

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Neuville leads after Ogier and Meeke dramas

Hyundai driver Neuville had ended a first night overshadowed by a spectator fatality in a crash involving his WRC team-mate Hayden Paddon with a seven-second advantage over Ogier's M-Sport Ford.

Ogier then tumbled to ninth place when he slid into a ditch when caught out by the icy conditions under braking on Friday's opener.

His team-mate Ott Tanak stepped up to lead M-Sport's challenge and was fastest on that stage, moving up from fifth place to close behind new second-position man Meeke.

Tanak was poised to get ahead of the Citroen on SS4 even before Meeke went off and broke his suspension, forcing his retirement.

Though Tanak regularly set the pace on split times, despite being distracted by his intercom broadcasting M-Sport's internal radio chat as well as his pace notes, it was Neuville who was fastest overall on SS4 and SS5.

That pulled him 31.7s ahead of Tanak by the time the field headed for the midday service.

Juho Hanninen initially remained in the podium fight following his shock third place on Thursday evening in the new Toyota.

Though having to drive around Elfyn Evans's off-the-pace DMACK Ford on SS3 cost him ground to Meeke and Tanak, he was back in third place once the Citroen stopped.

But on the morning's final stage it was Hanninen who hit trouble and had to park his Yaris with damage.

That elevated the recovering Ogier into third.

The reigning World Rally champion was right on Neuville and Tanak's pace after his excursion and was back up to fourth just one stage after going off.

He then began to close on Hanninen even before the Toyota's incident, but though Ogier is back in the provisional podium places already he is a minute behind Neuville.

The remaining Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala runs fourth. Time lost struggling to get the car started before the first stage meant Latvala could not make his planned set-up changes, but he showed encouraging pace as he progressed from his overnight ninth place.

Dani Sordo has been struggling to match team-mate Neuville's performance in fifth, while Citroen's only World Rally Car in contention now is Craig Breen's previous-generation DS3 in sixth after Meeke's incident and Thursday night transmission trouble for Stephane Lefebvre.

Former Volkswagen WRC driver Andreas Mikkelsen is dominating WRC2 on his return to Skoda's works line-up and holds seventh on the outright leaderboard.

Though back in a World Rally Car, Evans finds himself among his 2016 WRC2 opposition in ninth overall.

He lost over two minutes to the frontrunners on both SS3 and SS4 and said there was no problem beyond the DMACK tyres struggling to work on the icy and snowy sections.

Follow the Monte Carlo Rally with Autosport Race Centre Live from 2pm UK time.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

-

shares
comments
Hyundai withdraws Paddon from WRC Monte Carlo after spectator death
Previous article

Hyundai withdraws Paddon from WRC Monte Carlo after spectator death

Next article

Sebastien Ogier tweaks M-Sport Ford to find confidence on Monte

Sebastien Ogier tweaks M-Sport Ford to find confidence on Monte
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
9 h
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022