Monte Carlo WRC: Neuville wins season opener for Hyundai

Thierry Neuville has taken victory ahead of Sebastien Ogier in a thrilling end to the 2020 WRC season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.

Hyundai driver Neuville was in imperious form on Sunday, winning both stages in the first loop, and he maintained that dominance as he won the 18.41km La Bollene Vesubie - Peira Cava test, 1.4s ahead of the Toyota Yaris of Ogier.

It looked like Ogier was going to win the Power Stage, but Neuville matched Ogier’s time to take the stage win by a few hundredths of a second, meaning the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC driver won all four stages of the day to seal his first Monte Carlo triumph.

Ogier's Toyota squadmate Elfyn Evans started the final loop of the day in second place, and clung on to that position after SS15, but the Yaris driver dropped to 11.1s behind Neuville, and only had a 1.5s advantage over his teammate Ogier going into the final stage of the rally.

He then lost a further 3.2s to his teammate in the final run through La Cabanette - Col De Braus meaning he finished third overall.

Esapekka Lappi had another strong run on the second loop in his M-Sport Fiesta WRC, finishing fourth-fastest in the 13.36km La Cabanette - Col De Braus stage, and securing fourth overall, while Sebastien Loeb struggled again in the final loop.

The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC driver was having to conserve his tyres considerably more than anyone else after “completely” destroying a tyre in the final stage of the first loop.

The seven-time Monte Carlo winner was so slow that he lost 49.1 seconds to Lappi on SS15 and was another 49 seconds slower than the M-Sport Fiesta WRC in the power stage.

That meant that Toyota driver Kalle Rovanpera was able to leapfrog Loeb to secure fifth place in the rally.

Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota) had a clean run in the second loop and finished seventh, while M-Sport driver Teemu Suninen had an impressive run in the final run through La Cabanette - Col De Braus to jump up to eighth.

Citroen C3 driver Eric Camilli secured victory in the WRC3 class and ended up ninth, 11.8s behind the Fiesta WRC of Suninen.

Mads Ostberg celebrated his WRC2 victory by doing a doughnut at the final hairpin of the 13.36km Power Stage, as he rounded out the top 10.

Mads Østberg, Torstein Eriksen, PH Sport Citroen C3 R5

Mads Østberg, Torstein Eriksen, PH Sport Citroen C3 R5

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Monte Carlo WRC: Neuville leapfrogs Toyota duo
Previous article

Monte Carlo WRC: Neuville leapfrogs Toyota duo

Next article

Breen replaces Loeb in Hyundai's WRC line-up for Sweden

Breen replaces Loeb in Hyundai's WRC line-up for Sweden
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Prime

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport.

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Kalle Rovanpera tamed a wild WRC Safari Rally in Kenya Prime

How Kalle Rovanpera tamed a wild WRC Safari Rally in Kenya

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Prime

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022