Monte Day 2: Loeb Extends Lead

Posted on 19. Jan, 2012 by in Event Coverage, Monte Carlo Rally, World Rally Championship, WRC 2012

Sebastien Loeb (Photo: Citroen Racing Media)

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have extended their lead of the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally, with more than one minute, 30 second advantage over their closest rivals. The pair won all but one of today's six stages, with Loeb expressing his comfort with the conditions. “Today was a lot easier than yesterday, particularly as the ice had more or less melted by the time we went through,” said Loeb. “Having said that, I think I didn’t make the best decision tyre-wise by keeping all four supersoft tyres for the Lamastre – Alboussière stage.” The pair are in control of the rally, a favourite of Loeb's, and an event he has won five times in the past. Second place was held by Dani Sordo and co-driver Carlos Del Barrio, who had briefly dropped behind Ford's Petter Solberg before retaking the position in their MINI WRC. Sordo was the only driver to beat Loeb today, winning SS9, albeit by a mere 0.2 seconds. Solberg has retained third place, just 3.7 seconds behind Sordo. Solberg is the only remaining factory Ford driver in the event, after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out on Day One. Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia Were in a battle for fourth place, until Ogier lost control, crashing out of the event. Ingrassia was taken to the hospital with minor injuries to his right arm. Taking fourth place was Mikko Hirvonen, who was battling back after technical problems yesterday. Hirvonen is still adapting to the Citroen DS3, and finds it requires a light touch.

Mikko Hirvonen (Photo: Citroen Racing Media)

“I... have to adapt my driving style. The DS3 WRC requires a very gentle driving style and I am still too aggressive,” said Mikko. Fifth goes to Evgeny Novikov in an M-Sport Fiesta. Rally veteran Francois Delacour narrowly escaped disaster when failing intercoms resulted in a small crash. Delacour was able to continue, and swapped helmets with his co-driver, which served as a temporary solution. Tomorrow, teams head south and snow is expected. Tire choice will be difficult, and with only three stages, every kilometre will count. It will be a long day, with crews out for about nine hours, finishing the day at the Monaco waterfront.        

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