With the off season changes for Ogier, moving to VW; Hirvonen to Citroen and Petter Solberg's return to Ford, 'Monte' was always going to be interesting.
The loss of the promoter failed to dampen the spirits of the competitors and organisers and the event kicked off it's 5 day marathon last Wednesday with Loeb first on the road due to his champion status.
|Ford hope to challenge in 2012|
With Latvala out of the equation, Loeb took off and looked unstopable. He took the win with a lead of 2 minutes and 45 seconds also setting the fastest time on Sunday's power stage to claim the maximum 28 points from the event.
Volkswagen's Sebatien Ogier had a fantastic rally in the non turbocharched S2000 spec Skoda Fabia. he ran as high as 3rd, mixing it with the more powerful WRC cars before he too crashed out of the event on SS10. He was 6th at the time of the accident, one described as substantial. Co-driver Julien Ingrassia was reported to have an injred arm but he will be fit for the next round in Sweden.
The remaining poduim positions were fought over between Miko Hirvonen of Citroen, Soberg of ford and the Prodrive built MINI of Spaniard Dani Sordo. Sordo impressed in what is still a relatively new car (it only completed a handful of events in '11) whilst Hirvonen and Solberg put in some fantastic performances despite being their first rally in their respective cars.
|The Prodrive built MINI Surprised many|
Pictures: Autosport International 2012 - Not actual cars or photographs from the rally.
PLEASE NOTE: This is only a brief summary. More indepth reviews may appear as the season progresses