“I’m very happy and I can assure you the conditions did not make things easy,” Ogier said. “It was tough to be the first out onto the snow on Friday.”
Interesting that only last month, 4 weeks before the Rally Monte-Carlo starts, Sébastien Ogier left Volkswagen to drive the Ford Fiesta for M-Sport this season, and he had only minimal practice time to get accustomed to the car before this race.
Ogier was very happy about his victory and was even a little bit surprised that he managed to do so from the first time being in the new team.
“I was hoping to win, but to do so in my first race with so little preparation is just incredible,” Ogier said. “Well done to the team, you have worked so hard. You deserve this win just as much, guys.”
Ogier wasn’t in a lead during the whole race and he took the leader position also thanks to some dose of chance. The lead for the first stages of the Rally Belgian driver of Hyundai Thierry Neuville sustained a puncture at rear-left tire on the Saturday’s last stage and went out of contention.
“Thierry has driven a great rally, with fantastic speed,” Ogier said. “To drive the whole of Monte Carlo in these conditions at that speed is a hard challenge. Monte Carlo is a rally where you need luck.”
Neuville salvaged some pride by winning it to claim five bonus points and climb up to 12th overall, having drifted down to 15th after Saturday’s mishap.
Second place took the Finnish driver Latvala who was driving Toyota. He also seemed quite surprised with his own performance.
“It’s a fantastic result. Before the start I was aiming for a top-six finish,” Latvala said. “I hadn’t been on the podium since Finland in July.”
The third place is occupied by Ott Tanak who drove Ford Fiesta. He could do better but Estonian driver was struggling with engine problems incurring because of that a time penalty. So eventually Tanak dropped down to the third place.
On Thursday night, a spectator was killed after being hit by a car. Organizers said the spectator was struck by a car driven by New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon during the first of Monte Carlo’s two night stages.
On Sunday, January 22, 2017, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the 85th Rally Automobile de Monte-Carlo award ceremony where he presented the Cup to the French driver and congratulated him with merited victory.
2017 Rallye Monte Carlo leaderboard after SS15 (Top 15):
1. Sebastien Ogier FRA M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC 4h 00m 03.6s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala FIN Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing WRC +2m 15.0s M
3. Ott Tanak EST M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 57.8s M
4. Dani SordoESP Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +3m 35.8s M
5. Craig Breen IRL Citroen DS3 Abu Dhabi WRC +3m 47.0s
6. Elfyn Evans GBR DMACK M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m 45.0s M
7. Andreas Mikkelsen NOR Skoda Fabia R5 +9m 32.7s WRC2
8. Jan Kopecky CZE Skoda Fabia R5 +12m 58.1s WRC2
9. Stephane Lefebvre IRL Citroen C3 Abu Dhabi WRC +14m 43.8s M
10. Bryan Bouffier FRA Gemini Ford Fiesta R5 +16m 16.4s WRC2
11. Pontus Tidemand SWE Skoda Fabia R5 +16m 16.4s WRC2
12. Eric Camilli FRA M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 +19m 28.5s WRC2
13. Quentin Gilbert FRA Ford Fiesta R5 +21m 09.5s WRC2
14. Olivier Burri SUI Ford Fiesta R5 +27m 16.0s WRC2
15. Thierry Neuville BEL Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +30m 52.5s M
16. Juho Hanninen FIN Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing WRC +32m 16.8s M
Photo source: www.dailymail.co.uk/