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Thu 13 Jan 2022

Rally rewind: Monte-Carlo 2021

The inaugural hybrid-powered FIA World Rally Championship season kicks off in seven days. Rallye Monte-Carlo never fails to thrill, and 2021’s opening round was no different. Join us as we recall the top moments.

1: Ogier does it again
You could have predicted it. There has been no shortage of memorable moments during Sébastien Ogier’s career, but this one lives close to his heart.

Against the odds, the Frenchman cut his way through the field to claim a record-breaking eighth Monte-Carlo victory and his 50th FIA World Rally Championship event win.

Brake maladies during the opening speed tests dropped Ogier to fifth, but he was back in the lead early on Friday morning. 

A freak puncture handed Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Elfyn Evans a brief advantage, but Monte master Ogier put in a gutsy drive through Saturday’s icy roads to move back in front and he was never again headed. 

There were emotional scenes as he arrived at the Monaco harbour podium with 32.6sec in hand over Evans.

Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo memorable moments

2: Wydaeghe steps up
Rallye Monte-Carlo is arguably the most technical event on the WRC calendar, so when Martijn Wydaeghe got the call to co-drive for Thierry Neuville just days before the season opener, he was understandably surprised.

After Neuville split from Nicolas Gilsoul - his partner of nine years - the Belgian youngster was well and truly thrown in at the deep end. 

Despite some difficult moments, the new partnership blossomed and, although Neuville couldn’t repeat the victory he had enjoyed 12-months prior, the pair exceeded all expectations to clinch a well-deserved third. Impressive.

3: Suninen’s misery
British squad M-Sport Ford pulled off a Herculean effort to get their Fiesta World Rally Cars to the start of the rally amidst strict travel restrictions. 

All hopes rested on the shoulders of Teemu Suninen, and it looked like he was about to repay them. Flying through the opening Saint-Disdier - Corps blast, the Finn was on track to lead the rally with a huge time. But the excitement was short-lived.

Confronted by wet and slippery conditions, he slammed into a bank on a sweeping right-hander just 500 metres from the finish. His Fiesta flipped and rolled down a bank on the opposite side of the road, leaving Suninen to head for an early bath. 

4: Tänak’s Monte demons return 
Whilst Ott Tänak's departure from the Gap-based fixture was far less spectacular than the crash which ruled him out in 2020, the end result was the same.  

Driving a Hyundai i20, Tänak cruised into a Thursday night lead but was unable to keep up with Ogier and Evans on Friday.

A podium was still on the cards, however, the Estonian retired with two flat tyres on the penultimate day and his bad run of Monte-Carlo form continued.

5: Latvala’s dream start
Jari-Matti Latvala couldn’t have hoped for a better start to his role as team principal at Toyota Gazoo Racing. 

Dropping his driving career hopes to lead the Japanese marque was a daunting prospect, but Latvala’s team came up trumps. 

Ogier and Evans secured a Yaris 1-2, whilst Kalle Rovanperä brought home more strong points in fourth. 

  • Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park
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