Photo : @world
M-Sport Ford :
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team have started the year as they mean to go on – leading the FIA World Rally Championships for Manufacturers, Drivers and Co-drivers courtesy of a sixth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, and a resurgent fight-back to sixth place for Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“This season is going to be closer than ever and we got it off to the perfect start this weekend. Rallye Monte-Carlo is an event that everyone wants to win, so to have secured back-to-back victories here is fantastic; and it doesn’t get much better than leading all three championships.
“Sébastien and Julien really did have everything under control. We saw mistakes from almost everyone, but they made it count when it mattered. There really is no one stronger when it comes to strategy and it’s no surprise that they have been unbeaten here for the past five years.
“Elfyn was unlucky to have lost so much time on Thursday evening, but he fought back strongly and could have challenged for fourth place were the conditions more consistent today. Had everything gone to plan, he had the pace to have challenged for the podium this weekend, and he should definitely take encouragement from that.
“Bryan too had a really solid debut with the Ford Fiesta WRC. Having to change co-driver at the final hour cannot have been easy, but he produced a really intelligent drive and learnt a lot which will give him a good base to build on when he returns to the team in Corsica.”
Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsport, Mark Rushbrook, said:
“Congratulations to Sébastien and Julien on another well-deserved victory. It’s the perfect start to the season, and it’s fantastic to see the new Ford Fiesta securing back-to-back victories at an event as prestigious as Rallye Monte-Carlo. The team did a great job battling the adverse stage conditions as well.
“The work that Malcolm and our teams have done over the winter break is clearly paying dividends and we’ll be working hard with M-Sport to ensure the good results continue throughout the year.”
Citroën Racing :
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“We had two different targets for Kris and Craig today: for Kris, the idea was to hold onto his position, whilst Craig was hoping to do well on the Power Stage, which is why they opted for differing tyre strategies. I’m pleased that Kris did what we asked of him – and more – in securing maximum points on the Power Stage. Craig was also on course for a good result in the Power Stage, but he lost a few seconds when he stalled on a hairpin. If it hadn’t been for that, he would also have set a very good time.”
“It was the hardest Monte-Carlo that I have ever experienced. We had everything: sheer ice on slick tyres on Thursday evening, rain on Friday, snow on Saturday and frost on the Col de Turini today. I’m surprised to finish the rally with seventeen points, but I’ll certainly take them! We now have to stay humble and keep working hard to try and improve.”
“The weekend got off to a difficult start, with our mistake on Thursday evening. And then things went from bad to worse with the brake problems on Friday, which left us opening the road as something of a snow plough on Saturday. But we produced some good performances on a good few occasions, and did so again today on the dry tarmac. We now need to keep working in more changeable conditions, like those you typically get in Monte-Carlo.”
Toyota Gazoo :
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)
“Having developed the Yaris WRC on different roads all over the world last year, all of us at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team made it even better during the short off-season and put an improved Yaris on the start ramp for Rallye Monte-Carlo. Although I couldn’t be there, my heart was with the team and I saw many messages on our social networks from fans not only in Japan but all over the world. I would also like to thank Tommi and the other team members, as well as our six drivers and co-drivers who finished the rally reliably despite such challenging asphalt conditions with rain, snow, ice and mud. Toyota is a big family united by the same goal of making ever-better cars. Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström, who were competing in the number 11 Yaris WRC last year, continue in vital roles: Juho as part of the safety crew and Kaj as sporting director. As the new season goes on we will face even bigger challenges: extreme cold, high altitude, intense heat and increasingly stronger rivals. But together with our colleagues and fans, we are focussed on making an ever-better Yaris thanks to the valuable lessons learned from the world’s most demanding stages. Thank you for your continuing support: we appreciate it so much.”
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This has been a really brilliant way to start the season. I believe this is the strongest our team has been since we started. I’m very happy to see the effort put in by the whole team. I am also very impressed by the way that Ott has fitted into the team so quickly, how professional he is and how soon he has learned everything. It would be great to continue like this. We are looking forward to Sweden.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“Rallye Monte-Carlo is never easy. We had difficult conditions once again today, particularly with the ice on the Col du Turini that came since the recce. I’m really relieved to get to the finish and to be on the podium. The team has done an excellent job and the car is performing really well so I’m excited for the season ahead. It’s going to be about staying cool and to think about the championship and about the points. This has been a good start.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It’s really nice to start the season like this. It looks like I have joined a very strong team! The car has been amazing and I’ve felt really comfortable in it since the start of the rally. It was an extremely tough rally with such difficult conditions, but we managed to get through without any serious problems. We were expecting easier conditions today, but it was still really icy. We were able to take it steady because we were in a strong position. I’m now really looking forward to the coming rallies.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Today started really well with some good speed and the plan was to keep up the rhythm, including on the Power Stage. Unfortunately, I went wide on one corner and then I couldn’t get reverse, so we lost a lot of time and three positions. At the moment I am quite disappointed but at least I completed every kilometre, gaining experience and learning many things, so there are also a lot of positives. It has been a good rally for the team and Sweden should suit me better.”
Hyundai Motorsport :
At the end of a gruelling Monte-Carlo rally, we were finally able to enjoy some competitive and relatively trouble-free stages. We added two more stage wins, bringing our weekend total to six, and our remaining crews picked up important Power Stage points.
Few people would have believed Thierry on Friday when he suggested that a top-five finish might be possible. Our Belgian crew had lost four minutes of time on Thursday evening to languish down the order in 17th place. A determined attitude and some feisty performances on Sunday morning saw them achieve their target against all odds.
“The places we have made up today – right to the end of the Power Stage – show how important it is to push to the finish,” he said. “Without the puncture and tricky snow conditions yesterday, a podium would still have been possible. That’s Monte-Carlo!”
In total, Thierry and Nicolas totalled five stage wins, with Andreas and Anders making it six in total for our team.
The highlight of Sunday morning was the iconic run up to Col de Turini, with its icy summit offering an exciting spectacle for fans. However, our Norwegians were concentrated on glory in the final test – the Power Stage. Starting first on the road, they ultimately had to settle for third – but were happy with their day.
“With no tyre zone or service, we adopted a compromised strategy taking five soft tyres,” commented Andreas. “I was happy with my run. It’s my best drive feeling-wise so far with the car on dry tarmac, which is encouraging.”
Down but not out
Our Team Principal Michel concluded: “Monte has never been a particularly kind rally to us, and again we leave here with little to show for our efforts. We had some improved stage results today, and a strong Power Stage run from Thierry and Andreas, but we can only really look back on this weekend as a rally of disappointment. We have to put this one behind us and start our 2018 season properly in Sweden.”
The second round of the 2018 WRC takes place in Sweden from 15-18 February, where we will field a three-car line-up with Hayden joining Thierry and Andreas.
Source : WRC Teams