The 2 WRC legends waged a rally-long battle for victory with the lead altering palms throughout 4 brutal days of competitors because the WRC ushered in its new Rally1 hybrid period.
In the end the rally was determined in a ultimate stage shootout, after Loeb was handed a 9.5s lead when Toyota’s Ogier suffered a front-left puncture on the penultimate test.
Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche stored their nerve within the ultimate Energy Stage to see off Ogier and new co-driver Benjamin Veillas, to take an eighth Monte Carlo rally win by 10.5s.
There was extra drama within the ultimate stage as Ogier was handed a 10s bounce begin penalty, and had he not incurred the sanction the general hole to Loeb would have been simply 1.5s.
Ogier, additionally working a partial marketing campaign, initially led the rally from Loeb after profitable Thursday’s opening two phases earlier than Loeb dominated Friday to take 4 of the six phases, ending the day with a 9.9s lead.
On Saturday, Ogier fought again with the pair briefly stage pegging on total instances, earlier than surging right into a 21.1s lead after dominant run in Stage 13.
Ogier appeared heading in the right direction for victory till late drama within the penultimate stage on Sunday which left him an excessive amount of time to get well to overtake Loeb on the ultimate stage.
Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photograph by: Purple Bull Content material Pool
The victory was Loeb’s eightieth and first since profitable Rally Spain for Citroen in 2018, the identical season M-Sport final scored a WRC victory at Rally GB.
Likewise, the win was additionally the primary for a feminine co-driver since Fabrizia Pons partnered Subaru’s Piero Liatti to success at Monte Carlo in 1997.
M-Sport’s Craig Breen accomplished the rostrum on his debut for the British squad driving certainly one of 4 model new Ford Pumas.
The Irishman had been outdoors the highest 5 for almost all of the rally till Toyota’s Elfyn Evans and Hyundai pair Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak all hit bother on Saturday. This allowed Breen to climb from sixth to 3rd, the place he continued his measured method to assert a fourth consecutive WRC podium.
Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera produced the turnaround of the weekend to assert fourth having struggled to regulate to the brand new Rally1 Toyota GR Yaris throughout the opening two days of motion. The Finn ended the rally with three phases wins, together with the Energy Stage and the additional 5 championship factors it carries.
M-Sport ensured three of its automobiles completed within the prime 5 courtesy of Gus Greensmith, who may have completed increased had he not suffered a puncture and engine misfire on Saturday. The Brit confirmed robust tempo all through together with recording a maiden WRC stage win on Friday.
Thierry Neuville claimed sixth within the sole remaining Hyundai in what proved to be a disappointing begin the brand new hybrid period for the Korean model. Neuville struggled to adapt to his i20 N, labelling it “scary” to drive on Friday, however the Belgian made regular progress till his entrance proper damper broke on Saturday, dropping him from fourth place.
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Photograph by: Bastien Baudin / Hyundai Motorsport
Neuville managed to finish the remaining phases and even scored a stage win on Sunday, the primary for Hyundai this season.
Staff-mate Tanak retired on Saturday night after suffering a two punctures and a crash on the slippery snow and ice part of the Sisteron stage. Oliver Solberg, driving the third entry, retired on Sunday feeling unwell after breathing in exhaust fumes that had been coming into the automotive since Friday.
Evans ended the rally salvaging 4 factors after ending the Energy Stage in second after surrendering a protracted held third spot on Saturday.
Takamoto Katsuta managed to bounce again from a crash on Saturday afternoon to attain factors in eighth.
In WRC2, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen claimed victory.