Jan Kopecky continued to sprint clear in the WRC 2 class at Rallye Monte-Carlo on Saturday, with the Skoda Motorsport man pacing himself in the lead as his adversaries found themselves further plagued by drama.
Kopecky began the leg holding a commanding 8min 28.7sec advantage over closest pursuer Guillaume de Mevius, but the Peugeot driver ran into trouble after damaging the rear of his car on SS11 (Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps), consequently concluding the day 12min 12.0sec behind his Czech rival.
Kopecky, for his part, admitted to taking a cautious approach and ‘driving at recce speed’ at times, with nothing to gain and everything to lose in the treacherous conditions. The runaway rally leader was never fastest – but then he didn’t need to be.
“The conditions were really difficult, especially on the first stage of the day, with really heavy snow,” he mused. “With such a big gap, the priority has to be to get to the finish, which means I must be really careful and stay on the safe side. We don’t need to push, but at the same time, we still want to enjoy the drive.”
WRC 2 rookie Eddie Sciessere (Citroën DS3) has advanced to third – just under five minutes shy of de Mevius – following Kevin Abbring’s retirement. The former factory Hyundai Motorsport driver had just gone quickest on SS9 (Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps) when he stopped with terminal engine issues.
Early rally leader Eric Camilli similarly ground to a halt, towards the end of SS11, while Teemu Suninen went some way to repaying his mechanics for their hard work in fixing his Ford Fiesta after his Friday accident, winning three of the day’s five speed tests as he turned his rally into a test ahead of next year’s event.