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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Loeb reclaims lead as Ogier suffers puncture on penultimate stage

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The nine-time champion confronted a 24.6s deficit heading into Stage 16 after Ogier prolonged his in a single day 21.1s lead on Stage 15, however the M-Sport driver was handed a lifeline when drama struck his rival.

Ogier picked up a entrance left puncture operating via La Penne/Collongues 2, 19.37km stage that noticed the eight-time world champion’s lead evaporate and hopes of a ninth Monte Carlo win severely dented.

In distinction, Loeb gained the stage to open up a 9.5s lead heading into the ultimate Energy Stage, because the rally-long battle between the WRC legends is poised for a grandstand end.

M-Sport’s Craig Breen stays in third place and on the right track for a fourth consecutive WRC podium, and his first for the British squad. The Irishman is 1m28.3s adrift however comfortably 54.9s forward of fourth-placed Kalle Rovanpera.

Gus Greensmith’s M-Sport Ford Puma sits fifth in entrance of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville within the sole remaining i20 N after the team elected to retire the Oliver Solberg entry after Sunday morning’s first stage.

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The workforce confirmed Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson had been feeling unwell after inhaling exhaust fumes that had been getting into the cockpit of their automobile over Friday and Saturday.

Toyota duo Takamoto Katsuta and Elfyn Evans are the one different Rally1 entries nonetheless operating, however are each nicely adrift of the lead group after struggling crashes on Saturday.

The ultimate day started with Loeb’s hopes of victory given a small increase by successful Stage 14 and taking 1.1s out of Ogier’s 21.1s lead he carried into Sunday. Loeb reported he was having fun with an honest rhythm on the mountain roads whereas Ogier confirmed that he wasn’t pushing to the restrict.

Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Toyota Racing

Nevertheless, on the following stage Ogier restored order by finishing the check 4.6s quicker than Loeb. The pair had been cautious of the slippery situations and the opportunity of choosing up punctures, however it was Ogier that emerged with a wholesome lead.

His fears over punctures got here true as his lead would disappear on account of precisely that on the following check. Ogier will nevertheless match his spare tyre to make sure he can deal with the ultimate stage.

Ogier was not the one Toyota to hit bother as Evans suffered a proper entrance puncture on Stage 15 that required him to suit his spare.

Elsewhere, Hyundai loved some pleasure in what has been a tough begin to the brand new Rally1 hybrid period, as Neuville claimed the workforce’s first stage win of the season on Stage 15.

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