Colin Clark’s 2021 Monte Carlo Rally driver ratings

Clark rates the 10 Rally1 drivers - and one other competitor - after the opening round of the 2021 WRC season


It wouldn’t be the Monday following a World Rally Championship round on DirtFish without Colin Clark’s driver ratings.

So here they are for the 2021 Monte Carlo Rally. Clark gives his appraisal of all 10 Rally1 drivers on round one, including one special mention…

Toyota Gazoo Racing


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Sébastien Ogier 10/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 1st

The classiest performance from the classiest of performers. Had to deal with early brake issues and a puncture but never panicked or lost sight of what needed to be done. Even after the opening day’s problems you still felt that Ogier was going to be the man to beat and that speaks volumes about his ability on these testing roads. His eighth win on the Monte, with five different manufacturers across three decades marks him out as the King of the Monte. Greatest of all time?  With each win in the WRC he reinforces his claims to such a lofty title.

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Elfyn Evans 8/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 2nd

Managed to go one better than his impressive third place here last year but never really looked or sounded comfortable. It’s the mark of what the man has become that his safe pace relatively easily rewards him with a podium. He never put a wheel wrong all week and showed considerably more intelligence than outright pace. Evans leaves Monte knowing that once again he will be a legitimate title contender this year and when the pace is there, wins are sure to follow.

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Kalle Rovanperä 8/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 4th

It’s truly astonishing the speed at which this young charger learns, implements thoat learning and then drives like a Monte veteran. Led the rally after three stages and really wasn’t fazed by any of the challenges thrown at him. Still prone to making the odd costly mistake but those mistakes are now rarely rally ending which is progress for sure. Potential winner in Rovaniemi? You bet he is.

Photo: McKlein

Takamoto Katsuta 6/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 6th

I love this lad’s attitude. He knows that he’s on a massively steep learning curve and goes about things with a remarkably positive approach. A few small mistakes but nothing catastrophic suggests that the Japanese young gun seems to have broken that awful run of big offs he embarked on last season. Encouraging pace and a good result here bodes well for his next outing on a surface he knows well and has show pace on in the past.

Hyundai Motorsport


Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak 4/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: DNF

Early rally leader but it all went disastrously wrong on Saturday morning. A mistake on SS9 led to a puncture which saw the Estonian come to the stage end with the front right tire down to the rim. With only one spare, a second puncture on SS10 meant Tänak was out of the rally and once again he leaves Monte with zero points. Not the start to the season either he or the team were looking for.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville 8/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 3rd

Massive pressure before the event with the unedifying departure of his long-time co-driver and then even more pressure during the event with the departure of Tänak from the score sheets. To be honest, this was a result many people just didn’t think possible. No real pre-event preparation with new co-driver Martin Wydaeghe left many fearing an embarrassing start to the year, but Neuville and Wydaeghe dug deep and defied the odds to deliver a thoroughly deserving podium performance.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

Dani Sordo 7/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 5th

Sordo has never been a big fan of the Monte. He was absolutely at his best in conditions that are predictable and consistent but with the surface changing frequently and grip levels all over the place Sordo struggled to coins any confidence. At the end of the day, however, he did what he had to do, made no real mistakes and scored vital manufacturer points for Hyundai.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

Pierre-Louis Loubet 3/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 16th

Strangely for a man who comes from Corsica, he seems to prefer the loose stuff to the Tarmac and it showed here in Monte. There were glimmers of hope and the odd decent split and stage time perhaps bodes well for later in the season. He has time with a confirmed full season to build his confidence in Rally1 machinery but being beaten by Rally2 cars is something he’ll very much want to put behind him.

M-Sport Ford


Photo: McKlein

Teemu Sunninen 1/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: DNF

Just the most disastrous start possible to probably the most important season of Teemu’s career to date. He gets one point for the encouraging split just before he stacked it big time. The problem now is that he needs time that he really doesn’t have to rebuild his confidence. He will start in Finland with massive pressure to perform on a surface that should suit him. Past performances however might well suggest that pressure is not something Teemu deals with too well. I think the whole rally community will be keeping everything crossed that he proves me wrong in Rovaniemi.

Photo: M-Sport

Gus Greensmith 2/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 8th

I hate beating up on youngsters who without any question are trying their best. But I really can’t see too many positives in Greensmith’s Monte efforts. Beaten regularly by Rally2 machinery and completely devoid of confidence, Gus cut quite the sorry figure whenever we heard him being interviewed at stage ends. The good news is that things can only get better for Greensmith and M-Sport. Put this one down to experience and move on swiftly.

Special mention…


Photo: McKlein

Martijn Wydaeghe 10/10

Monte Carlo Rally result: 3rd

Just the most astonishing of co-driver debuts in the most difficult of circumstances. Coped remarkably well with the demands of one of the world’s fastest drivers and his lack of experience at the highest level of the sport. Achieved what many thought impossible and directed his driver to a podium place on the biggest and most demanding event of the year. Surely now that seat is his for the rest of the season.

Photos:Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Motorsport, M-Sport, McKlein

Words:Colin Clark