Friday | 22 Jan 2016

SS7: Meeke snatches back Monte lead

Kris Meeke regained the Rallye Monte-Carlo lead on Friday afternoon as his titanic battle with Sébastien Ogier continued unabated.

Stage info: SS6 / SS7

SS6: Corps - La Salle en Beaumont 2, 14.65km
A slightly shorter version of the 2015 stage, and driven in the opposite direction, competitors face a straightforward climb of the Col de l’Holme (1207 metres) on narrow tree-lined roads. The descent is fast, with a rock face on one side and barriers shielding big drops on the other.

SS7: Aspres les Corps - Chauffayer 2, 25.78km
Friday’s longest stage runs along one side of the Valgodemard valley before crossing the river and heading along the other side. It’s fast from the start up the Col de Festreaux and along the valley roads with the only narrow section in the village of Ubac, one of seven that the stage crosses. An unusual stage for Monte due to its speed.

Ogier stretched his 1.5sec lunchtime advantage to 5.0sec after winning the second pass through the Corps - La Salle en Beaumont test. However, Meeke hit back in the following Aspres les Corps - Chauffayer, posting fastest time to move back to the top of the leaderboard by 0.8sec.

“I just keep trusting my instincts, that’s all I can do,” said a relaxed Meeke, at the wheel of Citroën’s DS 3 with the new Abu Dhabi Total squad.

Ogier admitted he drove more cautiously in the second stage of the group. “It was a bit more tricky and I was more safe,” admitted the Volkswagen Polo R pilot.

Jari-Matti Latvala climbed to third, overhauling Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen who spun in SS7. “I dropped a lot of time. I lost the rear of the car in the slippery conditions. I tried to get back into the rhythm but it wasn’t optimum driving,” said the Norwegian.

Also in trouble was Eric Camilli who crashed out on the same stretch of icy road which claimed Robert Kubica earlier, while Lorenzo Bertelli also retired after going off the road.

Ott Tänak slipped to 10th, dropping 1min 40sec when he rolled into a ditch in his similar Ford Fiesta RS.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rallye Monte-Carlo. 

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