Sébastien Ogier says he was left with “no brake at all” at one point on the opening day of the World Rally Championship’s season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.
The seven-time world champion is fifth following the opening two stages of the rally on Thursday afternoon, 16.9 seconds behind rally leader Ott Tänak, after his Toyota Yaris WRC developed a brake issue early on the first stage.
He first revealed he was struggling with his brakes after that test, and later said a continuation of those troubles meant his approach to SS2 was “quite cautious”.
Elaborating on those comments, Ogier said: “I was cautious at the beginning of stage one because I have very little experience with these tires and I needed to get a bit of a feeling, and then mid-stage suddenly on the brakes I had the pedal going completely to the bottom and no brake at all.
“That was a pretty scary moment, luckily [it was] uphill and I could pump enough and stop the car before the corner but of course after that my confidence went completely down and I was pumping all the time.
“It happened a couple of times during the stage, then the rest of the loop was tricky.
“I tried to look between the stages [to see] if I find anything, there was no leak at all or no issue that I could see so obviously the rhythm in the second stage was also not good, I believe partially because of that.
“Of course I was cautious but when you are not confident with the brakes it’s quite difficult to drive on the limit.”
Ogier, who is pursuing a record-breaking eighth Monte Carlo Rally win this weekend, said he expected the issue to be resolved before the start of Friday morning’s loop.
“Tomorrow morning [we start] very super early with probably tricky conditions so of course there is a lot to do, a lot to go this weekend,” he added.
“It’s not a great start but we will keep fighting and I’m quite sure the car will be 100% tomorrow morning and now it’s up to me to do my best.”
He and Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans both ran with four super-soft compound Pirelli tires on Thursday.
Evans said that choice of tire, combined with the fact he had a cold car due to a delay starting SS2, meant he found it difficult to get into a rhythm.
“I think the conditions haven’t really suited what we’ve had on the car so much this afternoon,” said Evans.
“I think it was the correct choice in a way but then at the same time the long delay at the start of SS2 and then all that shiny tar and difficult section made it very difficult to get heat in the tire.
“In that stage I struggled to find confidence.”