Thu 20 Jan 2022

Ogier masters Monte Shakedown

The FIA World Rally Championship’s pioneering new hybrid era blasted into action at Rallye Monte-Carlo’s shakedown on Thursday morning with Sébastien Ogier fastest out of the blocks.

The eight-time world champion, driving the first event in a part-programme for Toyota Gazoo Racing after stepping back from full-time competition, stopped the clocks 0.5sec faster than Sébastien Loeb in the 2.29km mountain test from Sainte-Agnes to Peille.

Ogier’s team-mate and 2021 championship runner-up, Elfyn Evans, completed the top three in another GR Yaris, a further half second behind.

“Generally the car was working well,” said Ogier. “It wasn’t really a representative shakedown, it’s not the same character as we are going to have later on. So it’s not so easy to be sure that it’s fine for tonight, but at least we could check that the car is running well.”

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Sébastien OGIER Toyota GR Yaris  1min 50.4sec
2. Sébastien LOEB Ford Puma +0.5sec
3. Elfyn EVANS Toyota GR Yaris  +1.0sec
4. Thierry NEUVILLE Hyundai i20 N +1.8sec
5. Adrien FOURMAUX Ford Puma +2.6sec
6 Gus GREENSMITH Ford Puma +2.7sec
7. Craig BREEN Ford Puma +3.0sec
8. Takamoto KATSUTA Toyota GR Yaris  +3.8sec
9. Kalle ROVANPERÄ Toyota GR Yaris  +3.9sec
10. Ott TÄNAK Hyundai i20 N +3.9sec

 

The Frenchman tested the new hybrid-powered GR Yaris in December and again earlier this month but acknowledged that more days behind the wheel would have helped.

“I’m not sure if we can say we are well-prepared because there are a lot of new things going on and I didn’t have too many days of testing either,” he added.

“I think everybody will say probably a bit more testing will be better but that’s the way it is. You have to do the best with what you have in hand and adapt as fast as you can.”

Loeb was fastest in the opening run in M-Sport Ford’s Puma. The Frenchman, a Monte-Carlo winner on seven occasions, lowered the benchmark time in his second pass before Ogier moved top of the timesheets in his third and final run.

Thierry Neuville was fourth in a Hyundai i20 N, 0.8sec adrift of Evans, with the Pumas of Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith completing the top six. Greensmith’s opening run was hampered by a power steering problem but the Briton was soon back to full pace.

Kalle Rovanperä stopped his GR Yaris soon after the start of his third run after hearing an unexplained noise. The car returned to Monaco on a recovery truck but Toyota Gazoo Racing sporting director Kaj Lindström said he expected the issue to be resolved ahead of this evening’s start.

There were problems too for Takamoto Katsuta who was late starting shakedown. A dashboard warning light on the liaison section sent the Japanese driver back to the Monaco service park. The issue was quickly fixed and he headed back out to the stage.

The leading times were:

• Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo is 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.

Video Rallye Monte-Carlo shakedown
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