Image: Denis Baudron
Reigning World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier has closed in on Monte Carlo Rally leader Thierry Neuville after day two of the opening round of 2017 drew to a close this afternoon.
The M-Sport driver won two of the final three stages in his new Ford Fiesta overtaking team-mate Ott Tanak in the process. The two Ford drivers lie second and third place overall with only 3 tenths of a second separating the pairing.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville still has a respectable lead over the pack with 45 seconds between him and Ogier going into day three of the rally. Toyota’s sole remaining competitor Jari-Matti Latvala lies fourth place with Hyundai’s Dani Sordo in fifth with Ireland’s Craig Breen currently the highest placed Citroen in sixth.
One of Volkswagen’s biggest victims of their diesel-gate-inspired withdrawal from World Rally Car competition was third driver Andreas Mikkelsen. He has been demoted to the WRC-2 division but has become well acquainted with his new R5-spec Skoda Fabia. Skoda are currently one, two and three in the R5 class with Mikkelsen lying seventh overall and leading the WRC-2 pack by nearly three minutes. Skoda’s Jan Kopecky currently sits second in class and tenth overall. Wedged in between is Pontus Tidemand in ninth overall but has opted not to use the Monte Carlo Rally as one of his selected WRC-2 rounds.
Day three of the Monte Carlo Rally begins shortly after 8am local time tomorrow.