GLAMOUR RALLY: Lights, cameras, action and money mingle in Monte Carlo each year for its leg of the World Rally championship. This is current leader Sebastien Ogier. Image AP / Lionel Cironneau
MONTE CARLO, Monaco – World Rally
champion Sebastien Ogier of France retained his overall lead through Day 3 of
the season-opening Monte Carlo rally despite not winning a stage.
Ogier lost about a minute of his Friday
night lead but was still 42.9sec ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland and
1min49.8 clear of Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway on Saturday (Jan 24), boosting VW’s
hopes of a podium 1-2-3 for the event.
‘NOTHING TO GAIN’
Ogier said after the day’s
proceedings: "We were safe with our tyre choices but I was very slow on every icy part. My
studded tyres weren't the fastest option but they were the safest for the snowy
section in the final stage.
“I had nothing to (gain) by trying
to drive quickly."
Latvala played down his chances of
catching Ogier with three stages remaining on Sunday. "There's a little
bit of pressure on him now but I don't want to risk too much.”
Nine-times WRC champion Sebastien
Loeb of France climbed a place to ninth after winning Stage 11 - the second
of the day - while Polish driver Robert Kubica won Stage 10 and British
driver Kris Meeke Stage 12.
The day's opening Stage 9 was
cancelled because there were too many spectators on the course.
Ogier was not at his best. On Stage
10, the day's longest at nearly 52km, he was ninth and nearly two minutes
slower than Kubica. He fared a little better on the next special, finishing
fifth, but struggled again on the day's last where he was eighth ahead of
Loeb, who has won at Monaco seven
times, felt he made the wrong tyre choice. “We tried to use the slicks to see
how it was," Loeb said. "I had to be very careful in the middle
“Not my best stage."
2015 Monte Carlo rally – Day 3 result
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) VW 3hr00min39.9
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) VW +42.8
3 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) VW +1min49.8
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Citroen +2min42.8
Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai +3min16.1
6 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai +3min20.8
7 Elfyn Evans (Britain) Ford +4min51.7
8 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +8min17.5