Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Monte Carlo by 9.5 seconds overall after day two. The Volkswagen driver was trading stage wins and fastest times with Citroen’s Kris Meeke, who was fastest out of two of the five stages that were ran today.
Meeke stayed within five seconds of the defending champion for most of the day, going quicker on occasion after Ogier made a mistake on his run during Stage 4. “It’s not so bad,” he said before the first service park. “I slightly bent the rear left and the behaviour of the car was not the same.”
Later on Meeke would relinquish the lead by going 10.3 seconds slower than Ogier on the final stage of the day, something he puts down to the Frenchman’s local knowledge. “I think he lives about three kilometres from here,” he said. “He can have that one. I’m happy to still be at the sharp end.”
The Hyundai drivers looked to be struggling for most of the day with tyre and suspension setups. Thierry Neuville finished one stage 11 seconds down on Kris Meeke, whilst Dani Sordo was a further 22.7 seconds down after Stage 4. “The car is bottoming a lot, bouncing around,” said Neuville. “The suspension is too soft. We can change the dampers a bit. Okay, the understanding of the car is better but we are not where we wanted to be…”
Running on the wrong tyres in the afternoon didn’t help his case any more, although Mads Ostberg was running on the same Soft Michelin’s, which allowed him to take 15 seconds out of the M-Sport driver. He finished fifth, 1:47.8 off Ogier and just 14 seconds from Andreas Mikkelsen, who suffered from a spin during the penultimate stage of the day.
Drama’s of the day include what has to be the slowest crash I’ve ever seen in rallying from Robert Kubica during Stage 5, who is now out of Rally Monte Carlo. Ott Tanak also rolled his DMACK Ford during the final stage, crossing the line with spoiler damage.