Rallye Monte-Carlo: Day 2 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing one-two after fast full day of Monte action

2024.1.26 (Fri)

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team duo Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier are first and second at Rallye Monte-Carlo with just 4.5 seconds between them after the first full day of stages on Friday.

Car 33 (Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin)
Car 33 (Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin)

After winning both of Thursday night’s opening stages, Evans brought a lead of 15.1s into Friday and would demonstrate typically consistent pace throughout the day, where he was never outside of the top three stage times.

Ogier began the day third overall and claimed his first stage win of the rally in SS4 by one second over Evans, before a stunning time in SS5 where he was 11.2s faster than anyone else. That promoted him up to second place and within 10.7s of his team-mate at the end of the morning loop.

The GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID pair were closely matched in the first two stages of the afternoon, before Ogier recorded another stage win in the dark final test to further close the gap. It remains a three-way contest for the lead with Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) 11.6s behind Ogier.

Takamoto Katsuta was one of many drivers to be caught out on a particularly icy corner in the morning’s first stage, and required the help of spectators to get back on the road. Having lost around five minutes, he is 12th overall.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“It’s been a very good day from both Elfyn and Seb today. Elfyn was maybe stronger to begin with this morning and then Seb came on better and closed the gap. Thierry is keeping the pressure on as well, and it’s exciting for everybody when we have a close fight like this going into the third day of the rally. The conditions are not easy because when it’s dry the speeds are getting very high, and then when you hit an icy place it’s harder to understand how slow you have to go. That’s why we saw so much drama in one icy corner this morning. Unfortunately Taka got a bit stuck there and lost a lot of time, and now the target for him is to drive cleanly and then push for points on Sunday.”

Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It was a difficult day out there with very mixed conditions. There was a big contrast in grip levels with a lot of dry sections but also some ice in places and a lot of dirt around the place, so that makes it quite tricky. So it’s been a challenging day and I’m happy to get through it without any issues. The two guys behind have been closing in and driving very quickly but we’re still in a good position. We’ve found ourselves in this kind of position with Seb and Thierry here a few times in the past and it’s nice to be in the fight again. We’ll keep going the way we are, stick to our rhythm and see what happens.”

Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“I’m pleased of course that we could manage to fight back a bit today. I was still fearing that we would be at a disadvantage from the road position after struggling a bit last night, but we never give up and it’s very nice to be much closer to the lead now. The last stage of the loop was a difficult one but it seems like I managed it well today. Still we will need to drive it once more on Sunday and that will be a big challenge with so much dirt already on the road, but before that we have a long day tomorrow. The rest of the weekend looks interesting and I’m happy to be in this fight.”

Takamoto Katsuta (Driver car 18)
“The conditions were very tricky this morning and in one corner there was quite a lot of ice. On the entry it had melted quite a bit so I was carrying a bit more speed, but then in the middle of the corner the ice was very polished. So I lost grip and was just a passenger and we got stuck in the ditch on the outside. Luckily there were lots of spectators who helped us to get back on the road and continue, but it was very frustrating. I will keep going and try to improve my driving and find a good setup for Sunday. We will still have some opportunities to score points, so this is my target for the moment.”

End of day two (Friday):
1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 1h25m28.9s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +4.5s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +16.1s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m13.6s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +1m38.0s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +2m58.9s
7 Grégoire Munster/Louis Louka (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m27.1s
8 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroën C3 Rally2) +5m18.9s
9 Pepe López/David Vázquez (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +5m20.2s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +5m25.1s
12 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +6m56.3s
(Results as of 19:00 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
Saturday is the longest day of the rally featuring 120.4 competitive kilometres across another loop of three stages to be run twice. This time the action takes place to the west of Gap, and includes an unfamiliar challenge in Les Nonières – the second stage of the loop – which was last driven in 1997.

Elfyn Evans
Elfyn Evans
Car 17 (Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais)
Car 17 (Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais)
Car 18 (Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston)
Car 18 (Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston)

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