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  1. #16

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    SS13 / Day 3 wrap:

    Citroen ace Sebastien Loeb remains on course to take a seventh Rallye-Monte Carlo victory on Saturday after completing the penultimate day of the event with a lead of 1m47s over Sebastien Ogier.

    The unflappable Frenchman has led since the rally’s second stage and rounded off Friday’s competition with a fastest time through SS13.

    Just three stages comprised today's third leg. The opening St Jean en Royans test in the Vercors region east of Valence preceded the start of the long journey south to Monaco. En route drivers tackled two more stages, including the famous Sisteron, near Digne-les-Bains, bringing today's total to 92.00km.

    Last run in 2002, Sisteron is one of the Monte’s most formidable challenges, with a route that includes a bit of everything, from steep climbs and high speed descents to wide open sprints and twisty, technical sections. The route was dry at the beginning and end, but there were five kilometres of rutted ice from the 21km point as the road climbed to the 1308 metre summit of the Col de Fontbelle.

    Loeb was first to arrive at the stage end, his Citroen DS3 fitted, like most of the front-runners, with a combination of winter and asphalt tyres. “It was the right decision for sure, but the mix is certainly not the most exciting to drive,” he said. “But we have to do it because I think it’s the best option. Overall I’m very happy with the job we have done today.”

    The Volkswagen team’s hopes of a podium on its WRC debut ride with Sebastien Ogier. Despite a stall on an uphill hairpin, the Frenchman kept a cool head to get his Polo R to the stage end in the third fastest time. “It was okay, I was very careful especially on the ice. I took absolutely no risks,” he said.

    After another impressively trouble-free outing in his Ford Fiesta RS, Evgeny Novikov is third, 1m32.5s behind Ogier. “It’s been a fine day,” the Russian acknowledged. “On this stage I had two studded and two winter tyres. So I made up some time in the ice but we lost a bit at the beginning and the end where it was dry. I’m happy though.”

    Citroen DS3 driver Dani Sordo is fourth after a spin earlier in the day, but only 1.7sec adrift of Novikov, setting the scene for a terrific battle for the final podium place tomorrow.

    After a frustrating few days, during which he struggled to get a comfortable feeling in his Volkswagen Polo R, Jari-Matti Latvala made a breakthrough on SS13, arriving at the finish in the second fastest time. “Let’s have more like this - a few more Sisterons please!” he grinned. “Now I’m starting to get my confidence. Much better!” The Finn’s performance moved him ahead of Mikko Hirvonen into fifth, 43.3sec behind Sordo.

    Hirvonen slipped to sixth, 14.2sec back, and still in the doldrums after another unhappy stage in his Citroen DS3. “Not looking good,” was the Finn’s blunt assessment. “I was really cautious which meant I overheated the brakes because I was on them too much. I lost a lot time at the end. It was a really bad stage.”

    Fiesta RS driver Juho Hanninen lies seventh, 56.4sec behind Hirvonen, with Mads Ostberg in an identical car eighth, 1m02.7s further back. Bryan Bouffier is ninth with Martin Prokop completing the top ten.

    WRC 2

    WRC 2 category leader Sepp Wiegand had a fright when a battery problem threatened to bring his Skoda Fabia S2000 to a halt this afternoon.

    The young German stopped on the road section to SS12 when the battery stopped charging. He was able to make repairs and his pace through the stages was unabated, allowing him to head down to Monaco with a lead of 4min 48.3sec.

    “I’m just happy to be here. We had a problem with the cable from the battery and there was no connection, so it wasn’t charging. We fixed it with tape and it was fine in the stages. No can fix it at service and I’ll try to drive safely to the end,” said Wiegand, who was fastest on all three tests today and lies 11th overall.

    Armin Kremer remains second in a Subaru Impreza, the German admitting he is erring on the side of caution. Yuriy Protasov’s Impreza is third, 2min 46.1sec further adrift.

    In fourth is the Skoda Fabia S2000 of Rashid al Ketbi while Ricardo Trivinio and Lorenzo Bertelli complete the runners.

    WRC 3

    Sebastien Chardonnet, the sole survivor in WRC 3, enjoyed a trouble-free day in his two-wheel drive Citroen DS3. The Frenchman emerged from the final Sisteron stage in 17th overall and such was his pace that he was faster than all the WRC 2 drivers in SS12.

    “At the beginning of the stage we were thinking about our tyre choice and we decided finally to put some studs on the front wheels. It was a good choice because it was just crazy. The ice was very, very slippery. But it’s quite easy to control the car so it was a lot of fun,” he explained.

    click: wrc.com/Day 3 wrap




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    WRC 2013 Monte Carlo Day 3 - Part 1/2


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    WRC 2013 Monte Carlo Day 3 - Part 2/2



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    Sat Day 4
    SS14 and SS15: Novikov, Latvala and Hanninen crash out




    A couple of hours before SS14, 75 per cent of the Turini roads were covered in snow and the white stuff was falling. Then it turned to rain, and the roads became a treacherous mix of snow, slush and water. Carnage ensued.

    The Ford Fiesta RS of third-placed Evgeny Novikov, Jari-Matti Latvala’s Volkswagen Polo R and Juho Hanninen’s Fiesta RS all crashed out as drivers were reduced to little more than walking pace.

    Tyre selection was irrelevant as drivers emerged in a state of shock, describing conditions as the most difficult they had experienced

    The man that made the best of it was Bryan Bouffier, who was fastest by 29.1sec in a Citroen DS3. However, his time of 23min 56.9sec for the 23.54kms emphasised just how hard it was.

    “My notes were bad. A lot of corners were supposed to be clear but were icy. I stayed in the middle of the road without mistakes. It wasn’t the most beautiful stage I’ve done in my life because it was so slippery, but I did a good time,” he said.

    Qatar Ford’s Mads Ostberg was second, the Norwegian stating: “I couldn’t walk through there, I’m sure, and we tried to do this in a car. It was unbelievable all the way from the start. It was so wet with no grip at all. I drove the car in road mode for much of the stage.”

    Sebastien Ogier was third, 49.2sec slower than Bouffier. “I was driving at 20kph in places. I touched a barrier at least twice,” explained the Polo R pilot.

    Fourth fastest was Sebastien Loeb in his Citroen DS3, 3.5sec behind his fellow Frenchman. “It’s undriveable,” said the nine-time world champion. “The roads were snow and water and we were aquaplaning all the time. We had no grip. We drove at 30kph on the straights because if you go quicker you lose the car completely and you go off.”

    With Novikov’s demise, Dani Sordo climbed to third overall in his DS3 after setting fifth fastest time. “It was so bad that I lost control uphill in first gear!” said the Spaniard. “On the downhill section just after the col, there were two right corners where we didn’t have grip.”

    Novikov pulled the rear left wheel from his car 3km after the start and although he tried to continue, he stopped shortly afterwards. Fifth-placed Latvala went off the road near the start, while Hanninen retired from seventh in a downhill section 5km from the finish after ripping off the front left wheel.

    Mikko Hirvonen was sixth, the Finn admitting: “It was the most difficult stage I’ve ever driven over Turini in my life. It was so easy to lose the car. You just wait for the next wall and hope nothing breaks.”

    After the drama of the Turini stage, drivers were moved onto SS15 from Lantosque to Luceram. Conditions were easier, the lower altitude meaning the roads were mostly wet – something for the drivers to give thanks for.

    Sordo was fastest by 4.3sec from Hirvonen, with Ogier a further 1.9sec behind. Loeb and Bouffier rounded off the top five times.

    “Most of the stage was OK, but at the top of the col it was half ice and half snow which made things difficult,” said Sordo.

    Drivers were still stunned by what they had encountered in the previous test and fearing the worst when they return there again shortly.

    But for Mads Ostberg the dramas continued before SS15. “We didn’t have time to change tyres so I needed to take care of my studs before the second pass through Turini. I probably lost time but I wanted to ensure my tyres were OK for the next one,” he said.

    The Norwegian was sixth fastest, 30.5sec slower than Sordo.

    click: wrc.com/monte ss14 & ss15

    SS14


    SS15


    --------------------

    SS16: Loeb the master of slush



    A fastest time for Sebastien Loeb on SS16 means that with just two more stages of Rallye Monte-Carlo to go, the Citroen DS3 driver holds a 1m39.9s lead over Sebastien Ogier and remains on course to take his seventh Monte victory later today.

    The second of Saturday’s three passes through the Turini stage presented crews with a very different challenge to the first, when the extreme slush and snow took out three top 10 drivers. In contrast, SS16 was run in darkness, in patchy rain, and even though there was still plenty of slush about, there were also two clean lines of wet asphalt for most of the route.

    The most effective approach was to keep the car in the lines and avoid the slush. However, before the drive back to Monaco for service, a deflated Loeb explained that it wasn’t exactly high-adrenaline stuff. “It’s really uninteresting to drive like this, but if you go out of the lines you are off the road,” he explained.

    “So you just drive slowly, which isn’t very interesting for us or the spectators, but it’s like that. I put on a small display for the spectators at the top - but only because I lost control a bit…”

    Ogier also adopted a safe strategy at the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo R. The Frenchman no doubt aware of the importance of getting to the finish on the team’s debut rally – especially after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed the other Polo on SS14. ”Not easy stages today, but we are driving very safe now. Nothing more to do I think,” explained Ogier.

    Citroen DS3 driver Dani Sordo headed to service in third, 2m09.1 behind Ogier, after benefiting from Evgeny Novikov’s retirement on SS14. The Spaniard was third fastest through SS16, but admitted he had backed off after he saw split times from the cars behind. “When I saw I was okay I took it a little easier,” he said. “It’s been a really tough morning so I’m pleased to be here.”

    Citroen Total Abu Dhabi Dhabi team driver Mikko Hirvonen holds fourth, having gained two places with the exits of Latvala and Novikov. “Pretty much a safe strategy now. I’ve got to get the car home safely,” he acknowledged. “I had one small moment, when we slipped onto the slush, but apart from that no problems.”

    Almost three minutes behind Hirvonen, Citroen pilot Bryan Bouffier is fifth, having inherited the position from Mads Ostberg who strayed off the racing line 3km from the start. “I went wide and hit something with the right-hand rear wheel,” explained the Ford Fiesta RS driver. “I broke the wheel and the suspension. The brakes aren’t working well but I think we’ll get back to service.”

    The incident cost Ostberg almost six minutes, dropping him 3m50.6s behind Bouffier. Martin Prokop is seventh 11m23.6s further back, with Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia S2000), Olivier Burri (Peugeot 207 S2000) and Michal Kosciuszko (MINI John Cooper Works) rounding off the top ten.

    WRC 2

    A trio of stage wins for Sepp Wiegand kept him in the lead of WRC 2 with a healthy 8m25.8s advantage over Armin Kremer.

    Despite the treacherous conditions of SS14, Wiegand began the day in dominating fashion, setting the seventh fastest time overall in his Skoda Fabia S2000. He repeated the feat on SS16 – despite a spin at the top of the Col.

    “All is okay so far today but the Turini was so, so difficult. It was crazy,” said the German. “On the first pass I saw a lot of cars had gone off, then we caught and passed Kosciuszko. After that we slowed down to take it a bit safer.”

    Subaru Impreza pilot Armin Kremer said he as relived to be in the rally at all after the ‘crazy’ conditions of SS14. He headed to service in Monaco with a 2m55.5s cushion over fellow Subaru driver Yuriy Protasov whose vision was hampered by a misting windscreen.

    Fourth placed Rashid Al Ketbi (Skoda Fabia S2000) trails Protasov, with Ricardo Trivinio (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) the final runner in fifth.

    WRC3

    Sebastien Chardonnet, the sole remaining WRC 3 entrant, completed the trio of stages without incident to remain of course for a maximum 10 points today. ‘Very difficult stages, lots of slippery ice. Now we just try to drive slowly and get to the finish,” said the Citroen DS3 R3T driver.

    click: wrc.com/monte ss16




    --------------------

    Breaking News SS17 & SS18 Cancelled

    Loeb wins Monte


    The organisers of Rallye Monte-Carlo have stopped the event early, after huge numbers of spectators forced the cancellation of the final two stages on safety grounds.

    The results after SS16 become the final classification, meaning Citroen DS3 driver Sebastien Loeb has claimed his 77th victory in the FIA World Rally Championship and his seventh on the Rallye Monte-Carlo.

    Sebastien Ogier claimed second on his debut event in the Volkswagen Motorsport team’s Polo R. Dani Sordo took the final podium place in his Abu Dhabi Citroen Total Team DS3.

    click: wrc.com/Breaking News ss17 & ss18 cancelled

    --------------------


    whoah what a end... !!
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  6. #20

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    Loeb claims seventh Monte-Carlo victory



    A dramatic final evening of Rallye Monte-Carlo ended with the cancellation of the last two stages to enable Sebastien Loeb to claim his seventh victory in the opening round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship.

    A dramatic final evening of Rallye Monte-Carlo ended with the cancellation of the last two stages to enable Sebastien Loeb to claim his seventh victory in the opening round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship.

    The Citroen Total Abu Dhabi pilot led from the second stage on Wednesday and drove his DS3 faultlessly in treacherous weather to win by 1min 39.9sec. Second was Sebastien Ogier, delivering a superb debut for Volkswagen Motorsport’s new Polo R, while Dani Sordo secured third in another DS3.

    The final night in the mountains above Monaco produced dramas galore. Three of the top seven on the leaderboard, Evgeny Novikov, Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hanninen crashed out in awful conditions on the first pass of the mythical Col de Turini stage.

    Organisers then cancelled the final two tests on safety grounds when huge numbers of spectators brought the narrow roads to gridlock.

    It was Loeb’s 77th WRC victory and the Frenchman said: “I’m always happy when I win, and Monte-Carlo is one of the most exciting rallies I’ve done. This one was really, really difficult. The conditions were extreme compared to what we have usually and winning wasn’t easy.”

    The four-day rally, covering 425.93km over 16 stages, was based in Valence for the opening three legs, before relocating to Monaco. Snow and ice made it one of the toughest ‘Montes’ for years and studded tyres were the only sensible option.

    While Loeb’s victory was not a surprise, second for Ogier delighted the 29-year-old Frenchman. He refused to be drawn into comparing stage times with Loeb, who will tackle only four rounds this season.

    “I’m so happy, it’s like a victory for me,” he said. “I’m a competitor and I’ve never been happy to finish second but this weekend it was really the target, and to start the season like this is amazing. I’ve been waiting for one year, I’ve done so many tests and it was frustrating sometimes, and now here we are with the Polo on the pace already.”

    Sordo’s podium came on his first rally with the Abu Dhabi Citroen team since rejoining them this season. He battled with Novikov most of the rally but when the young Russian ripped the rear left wheel from his Ford Fiesta RS, the Spaniard was promoted into third.

    “It has been a very difficult and special Monte-Carlo, not like a normal tarmac rally at all. It has been very easy to make a mistake or lose time. Yeah I’m happy, especially because we didn’t have to go out on the Turini again!” said Sordo.

    Mikko Hirvonen cut a frustrated figure for much of the week. But the Finn persevered with his DS3 and the demise of Novikov and Latvala, who hit a wall, allowed him to take fourth.

    Bryan Bouffier claimed fifth in another DS3 while Mads Ostberg rounded off the top six in a Fiesta RS, after overcoming confidence problems early in the rally and broken right rear suspension today.

    Sepp Wiegand won the new WRC 2 support category in a Skoda Fabia S2000. The German took the lead on the second stage when Esapekka Lappi retired his similar car with accident damage. Armin Kremer finished second with Ukraine’s Yuriy Protasov third.

    In the WRC 3 support series, Sebastien Chardonnet took the honours in a two-wheel drive Citroen DS3. The Frenchman was the sole survivor after Renaud Poutot went off.

    click: wrc.com/monte wrap



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  7. #21

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    WRC 2013 Monte Carlo Day 4 - Part 1/2

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  8. #22

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    WRC 2013 Monte Carlo Day 4 - Part 2/2





    --------------------

    Next: Round 2 Sweden 07-10 Feb




    With the return of Rally Monte-Carlo to the WRC in 2011, Rally Sweden has gone back to its traditional slot of being the second rally of the year. It consists of 22 stages over a competitive distance of 339 kilometres with the start and finish in Karlstad and the permanent service park in Hagfors. Friday’s route is based in the Hagfors region, Saturday’s stages take place east of the town with the bulk of Sunday’s action taking place over the border in Norway.

    Despite ambient temperatures dipping to as low as minus 25 degrees centigrade, fans flock to the stages in greater number to witness the spectacle of drivers charging through ice- and snow-coated roads at full speed, which can be achieved thanks to their metal studded tyres, which bite through the soft snow surface and into the hard-packed ground below.

    As well as relying on their studded tyres, drivers make the most of the snow banks that line much of the route. They act as soft barriers and enable drivers to ‘lean’ their cars through the corners. However, they represent a major hazard when corners are taken too quickly with several drivers dropping vital time getting stuck or having their radiators filled with snow.

    Official Website: rallysweden.com


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