Ogier Quickest on Monte Shakedown Stage

It seems that Sebastien Ogier has already put down an early marker for this year's World Rally Championship by going quickest in the shakedown for the 2014 Monte Carlo Rally The 2013 world champion's VW Polo led the way on the stage in the French Alps, 1.2 seconds ahead of his nearest rivals, Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg, both driving for the rival Citroen WRC team.
Drivers on this year's event were warming up on the 2.18-mile Chateauvieux stage near Gap, but although they enjoyed clear conditions, the grip levels deteriorated quickly as crews returned for their third and fourth run at the test, with mud being pulled into the road as corners were cut.
Although in second and third positions, Citroen team manager Yves Matton was nevertheless pleased with his driver's start, pointing out that their DS3 WRCs could have gone quicker had they been on the super-soft tyres as had their rivals.
Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was fourth fastest, 2.9 down on his team-leader and one tenth up on Robert Kubica's M-Sport Ford Fiesta. Thierry Neuville was fastest of the all-new Hyundai i20 WRCs, a further tenth down on Kubica and the second i20, driven by Dani Sordo, was two seconds slower in eighth place. M-Sport's debutant, Welshman Elfyn Evans, was just outside the top times in 11th after a sensible and trouble-free start to his time aboard a works Fiesta RS WRC.

Leading WRC shakedown times:

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier VW 2m15.3s
2. Kris Meeke Citroen +1.2s
3. Mads Ostberg Citroen +1.2s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +2.9s
5. Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +3.0s
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai +3.1s
7. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +3.5s
8. Dani Sordo Hyundai +5.1s
9. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +5.1s
10. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport Ford +6.6

15th January, 2014