Loubet retires again, Ogier in control ahead of powerstage

Ogier has a 23.5 second lead going into the powerstage


Pierre-Louis Loubet has retired from the Monte Carlo Rally for a second and final time, while Sébastien Ogier is just one stage away from a record-breaking victory.

Loubet was initially running seventh overall on Friday before he lost power-steering and battled through over three stages without it.

That dropped him to 29th place but his weekend unravelled further on Saturday morning when he slid into a bridge and broke the rear-right corner of his Puma Rally1 on the final corner of the day’s first stage.

Any hopes Loubet had of a calm Sunday evaporated when he lost his handbrake on Sunday’s opener too. That issue was fixed for the next stage, but then he was hit by further problems as Loubet failed to make the start of SS17 on time.

He is understood to have attempted a fix to his unconfirmed problem but was unfortunately forced to retire after exceeding his maximum permitted lateness.


Things are far different for Loubet’s old co-driver Vincent Landais and his new driver Ogier, who is 23.5 seconds clear of Kalle Rovanperä with just the powerstage remaining.

The rest of the top four looks set in stone too with Thierry Neuville 21.6s adrift in third and Elfyn Evans another 31.3s back.

Ott Tänak’s fifth place is now suddenly under threat from Takamoto Katsuta who set a blistering pace on the stage to claim the second fastest time behind stage winner Ogier.

Tänak lost a massive 31s to Katsuta, seemingly backing off ahead of the powerstage, but he’s now only 0.1s ahead of the Toyota overall.

“Yeah, it’s all up to us now,” Tänak said.

After a confidence-sapping weekend, Dani Sordo is at least enjoying himself now – even if his hybrid unit isn’t working.

He’s seventh overall and seven seconds ahead of Hyundai team-mate Esapekka Lappi.