Citroen Racing’s Sebastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi made a promising start to the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship campaign in Monte Carlo on Friday evening.
Ogier, a five time winner of this event which he sees as a home race ended the opening day in second place overall, 9.1s behind leader Ott Tanak. Speaking following the opening two stages of the rally, Ogier said:
For my first two stages in the C3 WRC, clearly I’m pleased with the outcome, especially in these conditions. Perhaps I was bit too cautious on the first stage, but it’s difficult to really go for it when you are driving a new car competitively for the first time. But I certainly produced a decent time with the studded tyres on the second stage. I think that I made an intelligent start to the rally.
Esapekka Lappi ended the day in fourth place overall 45.2s behind Ott Tanak and speaking following the action he commented by saying:
“It was easy to make a mistake on tonight’s opening two stages, especially on SS1. I probably thought about that prospect a little too much and ended up being too cautious. We played it safe on the set-up as well. It was perhaps a little too soft. However, the confidence gradually came on SS2 and although there are already big gaps between the crews, I’m right in the mix, especially as there’s still a long way to go and plenty of things can happen yet!”
Citroen Racing Team Principal Pierre Budar commented the opening day of action saying:
“Obviously, it’s been a positive start for us. Both our crews went about things in the right way, adopting a considered, intelligent approach. Because it’s never easy starting at night, with a combination of studded tyres and slicks, which makes driving pretty difficult. However, they managed to avoid the pitfalls and we are now going to try and keep up the momentum tomorrow.”