Monday, 23 January 2012

Back on the WRC Calendar, Monte Carlo 2012 (Brief Roundup)

Returning for the first time since 2008 The Monte Carlo Rally opened the 2012 season with style.

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
The record 8 time champion got off to a great start but was overshadowed by the great performance of Ford's #1, Finn Jari-Matti Latvala. He led throughout most of the day thanks to an unorthodox tyre strategy with 2 regular and 2 sutded tyres fitted to the car diagonal to each other. That was until he rolled of the road on the final stage of day 1 whilst leading by half a minute.

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
Ultimatley, Sordo claimed a shock second despite damaging his car's suspension oin the first day, Solberg had his best ever start to a WRC season with 3rd and Hirvonen finished 4th after stage wins on Friday and Saturday. However, he could've had a shot at 3rd if it wasn't for a spin on Saturday afternoon.

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

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