Defending FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier goes into the final day of Rally Monte Carlo on Sunday leading the event by 13s from his Toyota Gazoo Racing team mate Elfyn Evans while Kalle Rovanpera is in third place.

Speaking following the action Ogier commented saying:

“It has been a good day, although not perfect. The first stage went very well in super tricky conditions. I really pushed hard so I was happy to cross the finish line and keep the car on the road with that kind of speed. The second stage was much more difficult for us. The conditions were really extreme and I had absolutely no grip, and we lost quite a lot of time compared to the drivers running at the front of the road order. Maybe we also didn’t do the perfect job with the tyre management but they are new and we’re still learning about them. In the final stage the conditions had changed a lot since the first pass and also since the gravel crew went through, but it was a clean drive for me. Most importantly we are in the lead and that’s what we need to keep now.”

The Frenchman went on to say:

“Conditions in this morning’s opening stage were very difficult. “In some corners it didn’t feel like we had any studs in our tyres. The conditions in the second run changed a lot since our safety crew passed so I had to trust what I saw.”

Elfyn Evans commented on his strong day saying:

“It has been a bit of frustrating day for me. I didn’t start off too well in the first stage this morning. Once I got my rhythm the time was not so bad, but Seb was obviously very strong. In the second stage it seemed to polish a lot and as later runners we seemed to have a lot less grip. Still, our time was quite close to Seb’s, although we had a small stall at a hairpin which cost us a handful of seconds. The last stage was difficult because the gravel notes were telling you it’s much worse than what you were seeing on the road. I tried to stay clean and out of trouble and it seemed OK. There was more to get out of it today and I wasn’t brave enough really, but of course it’s about finding a balance in these conditions. We’ll keep the pressure on tomorrow.”

Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera has had a great event and currently lies in third place overall heading into the final day of action and speaking following his run on Saturday he said:

“It was a nice start this morning, the first stage went quite well. I was quite careful in the tricky conditions but the time compared to others was good. The second one was really tricky, it felt good but I think the road was getting much slower all the time and we lost some time there. The last stage was tricky because I had a problem with my earplugs, so Jonne had to scream all the time so I could hear the notes! But I think it was a good run – we were faster than the driver behind us so it was enough.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Principal Jari Matti Latvala commented saying:

“I couldn’t be more satisfied with the performance of our drivers so far in this rally and everybody in the whole team has been working really well. Everything is looking very good of course, but we also need to remember that this is the Monte and it can always bring surprises. We saw that a bit in SS10 where the cars running further back were suffering with grip. But the other two stages today went really well for us. The final day is going to be very demanding: I think the Power Stage is one of the most challenging that I have ever seen in my rally career because of the steep downhills and the possible combination with ice. Everything is still possible so we just need to keep our heads cool.”

 

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