Rallye Monte-Carlo: Day 3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing remains in control before the final day
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to hold first and second positions at Rallye Monte-Carlo with Sébastien Ogier leading Kalle Rovanperä by 16 seconds with one day remaining.
The GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID’s run of consecutive stage wins to begin the season reached 11 as it dominated the top three times throughout the morning loop of three tests. Rovanperä scored his and co-driver Jonne Halttunen’s 100th FIA World Rally Championship stage win in the opening SS9 and added another in SS11. Ogier and his co-driver Vincent Landais were fastest in SS10 and ended the morning exactly half a minute ahead of their team-mates.
While Ogier made use of this advantage to avoid unnecessary risk in the afternoon, Rovanperä claimed an impressive further stage win in the day’s dark final test, where he was 6.7s quicker than anybody else. That means his margin in hand over third-placed Thierry Neuville is now exactly the same as his deficit to Ogier, at 16s.
Elfyn Evans has continued to fight back from time lost to a flat tyre on Friday morning, moving up into fourth place ahead of Ott Tänak’s M-Sport Ford and never outside the top-three fastest times all day.
Takamoto Katsuta claimed sixth place in the morning’s first stage and continued his consistent pace through the day in his TGR WRC Challenge Program-supported entry.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“We can be very happy again tonight. With one day to go we are still first and second with Seb and Kalle, and Elfyn is up to fourth and Taka up to sixth. Today, Seb has just been managing his lead rather than trying to find more speed, but I think the others have been improving performance-wise as the rally has gone on and that’s very positive. Kalle’s last stage tonight in particular was really good. But looking to tomorrow, I think Seb is still in control and very comfortable with those stages that are still to come. Kalle knows there’s no need to take crazy risks, and the most important thing is that he managed to increase the gap to Neuville.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“Today has been really good for us. This morning we were straightaway able to set good times. It felt a bit easier starting further down the road order, as there was a bit more grip on the racing line. The car has been feeling good and we’ve not really had to make any changes to the setup. This afternoon I was struggling a bit more when the road was really dirty. But the last stage in the dark was definitely a good one; it was a bit cleaner and I tried to push. Tomorrow’s stages are maybe not my favourites and Seb knows them so well that I don’t think there’s a chance to catch him. I’m sure he will be fast and there are not so many places to make differences. We’ll just try to maintain our pace and our position.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It’s been a long day but a pretty good day overall. I’ve enjoyed the driving and the feeling in the car. This morning we didn’t take as many soft tyres as the others and with today’s stages being quite abrasive, we suffered a bit towards the end of the loop. This afternoon we gave away a little bit of time in the dirtier conditions which was slightly frustrating. I could feel myself just not quite taking the risks needed to go really quickly. Tomorrow we’ll have some nice stages and we’ll see what the weather brings for the final day.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“It has been another good day. I knew that today’s stages had the greatest risks in terms of cutting and in our position I didn’t want to take any risks. You get nothing extra for stage wins and we had a gap that we just had to manage. I accepted that we would lose some time and just minimised the risks. It was a very clean drive and that was the plan and I’m happy to get to the end of the day. Kalle did a very good job today and we are now in a strong position to score a one-two for the team. But there are still four stages to go tomorrow and we have to finish the job.”
End of day three (Saturday):
1 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h27m11.5s
2 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +16.0s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +32.0s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +56.5s
5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +1m37.3s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +2m15.7s
7 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +3m08.8s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +3m11.4s
9 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +8m06.1s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +8m21.3s
(Results as of 19:10 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The final day of action takes place in the hills to the north of Monaco. Two passes of the classic Luceram – Lantosque stage are paired with two more runs up the legendary Col de Turini (repeating Friday’s opening test) where the rally will conclude at the end of the Power Stage.
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