Ogier extends lead with victory on SS15

He beat both his Toyota team-mates by 2.8 seconds


Sébastien Ogier has re-established his authority on the Monte Carlo Rally by outpacing his team-mate Kalle Rovanperä on Sunday morning’s first stage.

Ogier has led the World Rally Championship season opener since the very first stage and has thus looked command of the rally.

But his team-mate Rovanperä somewhat upset the status quo on Saturday’s final stage by slashing Ogier’s advantage by 9.8 seconds to 16s ahead of Sunday’s four tests.

However, Ogier reminded his fellow world champion who was boss on Sunday morning, beating his rival by 2.7s to re-open his lead to 18.7s.

“Yesterday night it looked like people were having doubts but so far I think I control my race perfectly, taking the risks where I want to take them,” Ogier said.

“But it’s not over yet – we need to finish.”

Rovanperä added: “Not fully happy. I have done this stage last year when I was not on the pace so for sure it was not easy now to step up.”


It means that the leading positions will likely remain stable unless any drama unfolds, as Thierry Neuville also lost ground to Rovanperä but Elfyn Evans did nick a couple of seconds from the Hyundai but is over 20s back in fourth overall.

Neuville’s stage was fraught though as he spun on the first corner and his hybrid unit appeared to be faulty.

Dani Sordo reversed the tide in the all-Hyundai scrap for seventh place, outpacing team-mate Esapekka Lappi by five seconds.

Yet, initially, Lappi actually moved ahead of Sordo in the overall classification as Sordo was given a 10s penalty for a jump-start. Not that he agreed with it.

“I’m sorry but it’s not my fault!” he said passionately.

“You need to check the cameras because the system stopped, it’s not my fault I didn’t know when to go!


“The car is not working, it’s like yesterday the hybrid is not working. I don’t plan to do this but honestly, I don’t care.”

His penalty was soon scrubbed.

Ott Tänak echoed Sordo’s frustrations, calling the start “funny” adding: “The start lights go with two seconds to go so we can go whenever we want.”

The M-Sport Ford driver holds fifth overall and wasn’t attacking on Sunday morning.

For his part, Lappi appeared to have made backwards progress from Saturday: “I have no confidence,” he said.

“I don’t know why but I can’t push like yesterday. I don’t know why but it’s not possible at the moment.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet planned to complete his first trouble-free stage since Friday morning but was still beset by an issue as his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1’s handbrake wasn’t functioning.

Loubet’s plan this morning is to save tires for the powerstage, but he admitted that plan could be “tricky” without a handbrake.

Words:Luke Barry