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SPORT NEWS – Evans leads, however Ogier has WRC title edge after Monza Rally day one

Evans leads, however Ogier has WRC title edge after Monza Rally day one



Elfyn Evans holds a slim lead after day considered one of Rally Monza, however Sebastien Ogier continues to be on the right track for an eighth FIA World Rally Championship title after an intense duel between the Toyota teammates left them separated by simply 1.4s.

Seven-time and reigning champ Ogier got here into the WRC finale with a 17-point lead over Evans. With a most of 30 accessible in Italy, Welshman Evans is aware of his greatest probability of overhauling Ogier is to go all out for the win and hope that the 37-year-old Frenchman has an all-too-rare off weekend.

That regarded unlikely through the morning loop of 4 particular levels within the Bergamesque Alps, north of Milan. Evans edged his fellow Yaris WRC driver by 0.1s on the second stage, however Ogier was quickest on the opposite three, taking a 6.5s lead into the three levels on the iconic Monza F1 observe that might full the day.

Content material to let his teammate lead, Ogier stayed on the right track for the title in second. Picture courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

That’s when the momentum started to shift. Quickest for Evans on the particular stage 5, Cinturato 1, plus braking points for Ogier — “mainly, the automotive stayed on the brakes the entire stage,” he famous — left Evans simply 0.8s off the lead.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was quickest via particular stage 6, Cinturato 2, however Evans’ second-quickest time was a full 2.1s higher than Ogier’s run, placing him within the general lead by 1.3s.

Within the day’s last stage, a 6.39-mile blast in the dead of night that used a lot of the F1 observe, in addition to Monza’s historic banking and a few deceptively tough gravel service roads, Evans was solely third quickest however, crucially, 0.1s quicker than Ogier to finish the day with that 1.4s lead.

Nonetheless, with Ogier trying comparatively snug in second general and means forward of the combat for third, the title momentum stays with the reigning champ. However Evans is aware of he’s doing all the things he can to maintain his possibilities alive.

“In the present day’s been OK,” mentioned Evans. “The final stage wasn’t so good, coming into the chicanes on chilly tires in the dead of night. Total, it was an excellent efficiency on the observe, so I’m fairly pleased with that, however we’ve bought some work to do for the mountain levels tomorrow.”

After the depth of the day one duel, Ogier didn’t sound like a driver who’d be taking most danger on day two’s six particular levels and 67.56 aggressive miles. However, he is aware of there’s a protracted method to go and no room for complacency as he seeks to finish his full-time WRC driving profession with an eight title in 9 years.

“I might be pleased with at the present time,” mentioned the WRC legend, who has chosen to compete on solely chosen occasions in 2022. “It was an excellent drive this morning within the mountains, adopted by some small issues this afternoon, so let’s see what’s our stage tomorrow.”

A way behind the all-Toyota Gazoo Racing battle raging on the prime of the time sheets, manufacturing facility Hyundai duo Neuville and Dani Sordo have been having their very own intra-team duel for the ultimate podium place. Including to Neuville’s penultimate stage win, Sordo grabbed quickest time on the ultimate stage in his i20 WRC Coupe, with the pair separated by simply 3s at day’s finish. However with a 20.2s hole from Ogier to third-placed Neuville, it’s unlikely that both will insert themselves within the combat for the general lead.

“I’m happy with our efficiency contained in the automotive, however we struggled with discovering efficiency from the automotive itself,” mentioned a perplexed Neuville, who got here to Monza after a dominant victory final outing on the asphalt of Rally Spain. “The sensation is there, so it’s troublesome to know the place extra velocity can come from.”

Neuville led the Hyundai contingent, however was a great distance from the Toyotas’ tempo. Jaanus Ree/Pink Bull Content material Pool

Oliver Solberg is fifth general in a satellite tv for pc 2C Competitors Hyundai, placing in a strong day of experience-building for his promotion to a part-time manufacturing facility seat in 2022. The 20-year-old holds a 14.9s lead over Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who impressed on the Monza levels and narrowly missed out on quickest time within the day’s last check.

Gus Greensmith is seventh in M-Sport’s remaining Fiesta WRC after teammate Adrien Fourmaux rolled out on particular stage 3, with Teemu Suninen eighth within the third manufacturing facility Hyundai.

Suninen was a late substitute for Ott Tanak, who misses Monza for household causes, and continues to be taking part in catch-up on studying the automotive. However, he’s the highest-placed Finn, because of Kalle Rovanpera cruising to a subdued ninth as he performs the insurance coverage function in Toyota’s quest for the producers’ title — one thing of a formality, given {that a} seventh-place end by any of the manufacturing facility Yaris WRCs would seal the deal.

Within the battle for WRC2 honors, newly topped champion Andreas Mikkelsen is in fightback mode after struggling a puncture on a gravel part of the second Monza stage. The Toksport WRT Skoda driver lies 1m34.7s behind class chief and teammate Marco Bulacia, however isn’t giving up on closing down the hole in day two’s mountain levels.

“It’s been a bit of bit up and down,” mentioned Mikkelsen. “Largely an excellent day, however the puncture was an actual disgrace. I don’t even know the way it occurred, as a result of we positively didn’t hit something. We’ll maintain pushing and see what can occur.”

A puncture hindered WRC2 champ Andreas Mikkelsen on the primary day. Jaanus Ree/Pink Bull Content material Pool

After 4 morning levels within the Bergamesque Alps, Saturday’s second leg concludes with two extra track-based levels at Monza. With all the things nonetheless to play for within the battle for the general WRC drivers’ title, it guarantees to be one of the essential days of the season.

WRC Rally Monza, main positions after Day One, SS7


1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) 1h04m05.2s
2 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.4s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +21.6s
4 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +24.6s
5 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +50.6s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m05.5s
7 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m14.1s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m28.6s
9 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Haltunnen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m57.3s
10 Yohan Rossel/Jacques-Julien Renucci (Citroen C3) +4m21.3s

Take a look at WRC.com, the official dwelling of the FIA World Rally Championship. And for the final word WRC expertise, join a WRC+ subscription to look at all levels of each rally dwell and on demand, each time and wherever.

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SPORT NEWS – Evans leads, however Ogier has WRC title edge after Monza Rally day one
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