Sat 28 Jan 2023

Kalle: Road position compromised Monte victory hopes

Kalle Rovanperä has admitted his chances of challenging Sébastien Ogier for a maiden Rallye Monte-Carlo win were compromised by running at the front of the field through Thursday and Friday last week.

The 22-year-old Finn started first on the road courtesy of his status as defending champion, but was hampered by the need to sweep the stages clean of salt laid in an effort to melt ice.

Fifth overnight on Thursday, it took until SS8 at the end of Friday before Rovanperä won his first stage. By then, he was 36 seconds adrift of team-mate and fellow Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 driver Ogier.

The combination of a cleaner road for Rovanperä and a more conservative approach from Ogier allowed him to narrow that gap to 16 seconds. Two stage wins – including the Wolf Power Stage – brought five bonus points, but Ogier was always in control of the overall classification.

“He did a great job,” said Rovanperä. "Congratulations to him. For me, we lost too much time early in the rally when we were cleaning the road. There were a few stages on that day when I think there was quite a big change in the level of grip we had compared to the guys behind.

“But on Saturday and Sunday, the pace was the same as the others and we could fight for the top times. I’m happy. I think we can come back to this event and fight for the win next year.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM