Watch highlights of a highly dramatic World Rally Championship season-opener in which plenty of marks were set
The latest World Rally Championship season has picked up where it left off, with Sébastien Ogier pipping Thierry Neuville to victory in dramatic circumstances in the season-opener.
It was the closest-ever win in Monte Carlo Rally history, reigning champion Ogier – on his Citroën return – beating last year’s runner-up Neuville in his Hyundai by just 2.2sec. Ogier had entered the final stage just four-tenths of a second ahead indeed and Neuville was ahead in that final stage’s early splits.
It is Ogier’s sixth win in a row in his local event, and he joins compatriot Sébastien Loeb on a record seven Monte victories. It also is Citroën’s 100th rally win in this its 100th year as a brand.
Loeb also impressed in his semi-permanent WRC return for Hyundai, finishing fourth and taking a number of stages wins. He was only beaten to the podium’s bottom step late on by Ott Tänak’s fast comeback in his Toyota after an earlier delay stopping to replace a punctured tyre.
The highlights below feature dramatic onboard footage, including at night. You can also see a large crash ending M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans rally, his team-mate Teemu Suninen having an off into a ditch which delayed him, Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen hitting a wall and causing his retirement from ripping a wheel off, as well as Kris Meeke on his Toyota debut being delayed by a puncture on the way to a sixth-place finish.
It also shows an apparently innocuous wrong turn at a junction earlier in the rally by Neuville, which turned out to be crucial in tilting the rally away from him.