King Of Monte Carlo Extends His Reign
The King Of Monte Carlo Extends His Reign To A New Record
Sébastien Loeb is now the unqualified king of the Monte Carlo after he drove his Citroën C4 WRC to record fifth win of the world's oldest rally, putting him one event ahead of Walter Röhrl, Sandro Munari and Tommi Mäkinen following his victories in 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2003 as well as this year.
Citroën initially dominated the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally, with Loeb's team mate, Dani Sordo setting the pace from the start before Loeb took over the lead on stage two and never looked back. On day two Loeb and Sordo completed a clean sweep of all the stages and it was only engine problems for Sordo on day three that stopped it being a Citroën 1-2. Sordo restarted on the final day under the super rally rules and finished 11, giving Citroën one valuable manufacturer's point.
"More than the fact that this was our 37th WRC victory and our fifth Monte win, I think the most significant thing is the way we won this year," said Loeb at the finish. "Our Citroën C4 performed faultlessly throughout and the set-up we chose for the start proved excellent, which shows how well we worked upstream. The C4 and the Pirelli tyres also functioned well together on these asphalt stages which were often damp. It's always nice to start the season with a win, but I have no intention of getting carried away because there are some very difficult rallies to come."
Putting his woes behind him, Dani Sordo also concluded on a positive note:
"We were the only ones who succeeded in staying with Sébastien's pace," said Sordo. "Once again, our car was awesomely quick on asphalt and I was also pleased with the way our tyres performed. That was one of the unknown factors before the start. Last but not least, I'm glad to have picked up a Manufacturers' point for Citroën."
The new Citroën Sport Team boss, Olivier Quesnel, could not have had a better start to his new job.
"This result owes much to the talent of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena," said Quesnel. "They put in a perfect run. Another win for the team on the WRC's particularly challenging curtain-raiser is a fitting reward for all the hard work put in by everyone at Citroën Sport. It's immensely satisfying to have started my job as Director of Citroën Sport with a win on the Monte Carlo Rally. It gives us a solid footing in both championships. I remain lucid, however, because the team is often successful on sealed surfaces. A totally different challenge awaits us in Sweden. Our rivals will doubtlessly be very strong in the slippery conditions and the fight promises to be more open."
Next round: Sweden, 8-10 February 2008
Stage wins Leg 1 : SS1 : Dani Sordo (Citroën C4) - SS2 : Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C4). Leg 2 : SS3 : S. Loeb - SS4 : Dani Sordo - SS5, 6, 7 and 8 : S. Loeb. Leg 3 : SS9 : D. Sordo - SS10, SS11, SS12 : S. Loeb - SS13 : Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) - SS14 : S. Loeb. Leg 4 : SS15 : François Duval (Ford Focus) - SS16 : D. Sordo - SS17 : C Atkinson - SS18 : F. Duval - SS19 : C. Atkinson.
S. Loeb : 10 stage win - D. Sordo : 3 - C. Atkinson : 3 - F. Duval : 2.
Leaders SS1 : D. Sordo ; SS2 to SS19 : S. Loeb.
Final leaderboard on 76th Rallye Monte-Carlo*
1. S. Loeb/D. Elena (Citroën C4) 3 h 39 min 17 s
2. M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford Focus) + 2 min 34,4 s
3. C. Atkinson/S. Prévot (Subaru Impreza) + 2 min 58,6 s
4. F. Duval/E. Chevailler (Ford Focus) + 2 min 59,7 s
5. P. Solberg/P. Mills (Subaru Impreza) + 4 min 40,9 s
6. G. Galli/G. Bernacchini (Ford Focus) + 8 min 46,5 s
7. JM. Cuoq/P. Janvier (Peugeot 307) + 10 min 24,8 s
8. PG. Andersson/J. Andersson (Suzuki X4) + 11 min 19,5 s
9. H. Solberg/C. Menkerud (Ford Focus) + 12 min 43,6 s
10. M. Wilson/S. Martin (Ford Focus) + 14 min 00,1 s
11. D. Sordo/M. Martí (Citroën C4) + 20 min 40,5 s
FIA World rally Championship's rankings 'Manufacturers' (round 1/15)*
1. Citroën Total, 11 pts - 2. Subaru, 10 pts - 3. Ford, 8 pts - 4. Stobart, 8 pts - 5. Suzuki, 2 pts.
FIA World rally Championship's rankings 'Drivers' (round 1/15)*
1. S. Loeb, 10 points - 2. M. Hirvonen, 8 pts - 3. C. Atkinson, 6 pts - 4 F. Duval, 5 pts - 5. P. Solberg, 4 pts - 6. G. Galli, 3 pts - 7. JM. Cuoq, 2 pts - 8. PG. Andersson, 1 pt.
*Subject to final publications of the results by the FIA.