Volkswagen in Control at Monte Carlo

The Volkswagen WRC team seems to have things all under control as Sebastien Ogier takes a lead of 43 seconds into the final day of the Monte Carlo Rally after the Citroens of Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke were quickest on Saturday afternoon. Ogier had his advantage cut by more than 20s by Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala across the two stages, while the third Polo WRC of Andreas Mikkelsen remains a comfortable third.

Double World Rally champion Ogier took a deliberately conservative strategy on SS11 and SS12, dropping only a couple of seconds to Latvala on the short Prunieres - Embrun route before losing exactly 20s on the long and challenging Sisterton - Thoard run. A short stretch of ice in the final quarter of that stage cost Ogier most of his time to Latvala, who seemed shocked to have reduced his team-mate's lead as much as he did as both opted for careful approaches to one of the championship's most famous stages.

Citroen's Kris Meeke and privateer Robert Kubica were moving up through the field during the day. Despite spinning and costing himself what he estimated to be 12 seconds Meeke bagged victory on SS12, outpacing Kubica by 8.5s. That stage win also elevated Meeke, whose rally was severely compromised by an off on day one, back into the points in 10th, one place behind SS11 winner Loeb.

Behind the three Volkswagens at the front, an entertaining fight for fourth remains. Mads Ostberg took control of that battle on SS11 as Elfyn Evans brushed a wall and damaged his M-Sport Ford's suspension and the Hyundais of Dani Sordo struggled. Evans remains seventh after repairing his Fiesta on SS11 and limping through the final stage, while Martin Prokop is eighth but now just 45 seconds clear on nine-time world champion Loeb.

Results at SS12:

1 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 3h00m39.9s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 42.8s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 1m49.8s
4 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m42.8s
5 Daniel Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m16.1s
6 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m20.8s
7 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 4m51.7s
8 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 8m17.5s
9 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 9m02.2s
10 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 10m06.0s

24th January, 2015