Yurii Protasov has taken his first victory in the WRC2 category after winning Rallye Monte-Carlo by almost eight minutes tonight.
The Ukrainian’s first visit to Monte Carlo looked like it was going to end in disappointment when his Fiesta picked up a puncture on Friday morning and he lost his lead. But the misfortune of others played into his hands and he capitalised to win by 7m 50s.
“When we had the puncture there were some thoughts that our rally was over but I kept them to myself,” the 32-year-old said. “I knew the rally distance is very long so it was just a case if returning to our original plan and concentrating on my driving.”
When another early pacesetter, Armin Kremer, also suffered a puncture and put his car into a ditch on the second day, it was left to Lorenzo Bertelli and Robert Barrable to fight over second place.
Things looked to be going Barrable’s way on the final day until the windscreen demister on his Ford Fiesta broke. A lack of visibility held him back and he was forced to concede second to his Italian rival. The gap between the two was 1m 34s at the finish.
“This is my third rally in Monte Carlo and finally I have finished,” Bertelli beamed.
Kremer eventually finished in fourth place, albeit 18 minutes behind Bertelli, while Massimiliano Rendin was fifth, 33 minutes off the winning pace. Jourdan Serderidis was a further seven minutes further back.