WRC - Neuville & Gilsoul claim first Rallye Monte-Carlo victory | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Neuville & Gilsoul claim first Rallye Monte-Carlo victory

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2020 Rallye-Monte-Carlo - Sunday

2020 WRC - Rallye Monte-Carlo - T. Neuville / N. GIlsoul (DPPI)

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul have triumphed on Rallye Monte-Carlo for the first time, after winning all the stages on the final day: including the rally-closing Power Stage – which awarded the Belgian pair five additional championship points – by a margin of just 0.016 seconds ahead of Sébastien Ogier.

The duo only moved into the lead again on Sunday morning, having been fastest after the two Thursday night stages that opened the rally. In total, Neuville claimed nine of the sixteen Monte-Carlo stages this year – to snatch the victory by just 12.6 seconds. Behind them, the Toyota crews of Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans were separated by less than two seconds at the finish in second and third respectively.

Evans and Ogier had both led throughout Friday and Saturday, but Neuville gained more confidence in his set-up and pace notes throughout Saturday and his two rivals dropped time – especially during the repeated Col de Turini stages on Sunday, which was characterised by black ice.

Ogier only overhauled his team mate on the very last stage, claiming four extra championship points for second-fastest time on the Power Stage. In the end though, all three podium finishers were separated by less than 15 seconds after 304 competitive kilometres, showing how close the margins had been throughout the most famous event on the World Rally Championship calendar.

Neuville now leads the drivers’ championship by eight points from Ogier, while Hyundai has a two-point advantage over Toyota in the manufacturers’ standings.

On Sunday morning, M-Sport’s new recruit Esapekka Lappi passed Monte legend Sébastien Loeb for fourth. Due to a wrong choice of tyres for Sunday as he thought that it would rain, the Frenchman first went briefly off on worn tyres.

The problem continued to affect him on the final loop of stages, which made him loose another position to the promising Kalle Rovanperä, who finished his first event with a World Rally Car in fifth, behind Lappi.

Both Finns said that they were learning more about their new cars, with Lappi’s progress having been hampered by mechanical problems on Thursday night.

In seventh, more than six minutes behind Loeb, was Toyota protégé Takamoto Katsuta, completing his first Rallye Monte-Carlo in a World Rally Car. The Japanese driver finished in front of the M-Sport factory Fiesta WRC of Teemu Suninen, eighth overall after being badly affected by the same overheating problems as Lappi on Thursday night. Third place on the Power Stage was a good consolation for Suninen, with three extra championship points.

Two Citroën C3 R5 cars completed the top 10 in Monaco, with the privateer Eric Camilli winning the FIA WRC 3 class, ahead of PH Sport’s factory driver Mads Østberg, the FIA WRC 2 winner in 10th overall.


2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo - Final Official Results

1. Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3hr 10min 57.6sec
2. Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 11min 10.2sec
3. Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 11min 11.9sec
4. Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN)Citroën C3 WRC3hr 14min 06.6sec
5. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 15min 14.8sec
6. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MNC)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3hr 16min 02.3sec
7. Takamoto Katsuta (JAP) / Daniel Barritt (GBR)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 22min 25.5sec
8. Teemu Suninen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 24min 28.0sec
9. Eric Camilli (FRA) / F. Buresi (FRA) - FIA WRC3Citroën C33hr 24min 39.8sec
10. Mads Østberg (NOR) / T. Eriksen (NOR) - FIA WRC 2Citroën C33hr 25min 19.4sec