Sébastien Ogier strikes at the start of the Monte Carlo rally

By Le Figaro with AFP Published 5 minutes ago, Update just now Sebastien Ogier VALERY…

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published
5 minutes ago, Update just now

Sebastien Ogier VALERY HACHE / AFP

The Frenchman took control of the princely event at the end of the first two specials.

Frenchman Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) struck from the start on the first day of the Monte Carlo rally, the first round of the 2023 WRC world rally championship, by winning the opening two specials.

It was the famous “Turini night”, which, for once, opened this 91st edition of the winter rally. Ogier did not go into detail by winning the two scratch times, on roads without snow but slippery because of the “black ice”. He leads the provisional general classification with a 6-second lead over his team-mate from Toyota, the Welshman Elfyn Evans.

Eight-time WRC world champion and as many times winner of the “Monte Carl”, Ogier marked his ambitions from the start when he will only compete in a few rallies this year for Toyota. He aims in particular to become the absolute record holder for victories in this event while he is today, with eight successes, tied with the other French king of rallies, Sébastien Loeb, who has won 9 WRC titles.

Loeb, who has just taken part in the Dakar and won the Monte Carlo last year, is missing out this year but could nevertheless line up in a few WRC events if he manages to define a program with M-Sport Ford. Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) went off the road on the 2nd special and lost time because his car stalled. He was in 4th place overall, 15.5s behind the leader. The Estonian Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford) also had a scare, almost in the same place. He was in 3rd place on Thursday evening, 15”4 behind Ogier. The reigning world champion, the Finnish Kalle Rovanperä, started very cautiously and was only in 5th place at 17”1.

General classification of the Monte Carlo rally after the first two stages on Thursday:
1. Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (FRA/FRA) Toyota: 26’33”7
2. Elfyn Evans/ Scott Martin (GBR/GBR) Toyota at 6”0
3. Ott Tänak/Martin Jarveoja (EST/EST) M-Sport Ford at 15”4
4. Thierry Neuville/ Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL/BEL) Hyundai at 15”5
5. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) Toyota at 17”1

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