#WRC Rallye MonteCarlo, 2015 - VW Drivers Dominate after Loeb Crashed out!

Mikkelsen ends the day on overall 3rd
Ogier takes the leadership, EOD
Epic battle of the Seb's, resumed on Day 2 of Monte-Carlo rally, and was totally action packed. Loaded with 3 special stages that were repeated once more after a mid-day service, the rally passed through the Col's around Monaco. The stages had different surface conditions, damp at times, with ice reported at certain sections, and also had dry stretches. 

Ott Tanak does a good job so far
Tyre selection was crucial, and the day began with a thorough analysis of possible weather & surface conditions, to select the best set of tyres; along with spare wheels, which would be used later to change for specific stage(s). Studded winter tyres were the preferred option this morning.

Meeke, Loeb, Ostberg and Neuville left with 5 studded tyres. Evans, Tanak, Sordo, Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen had 4 studded and 2 (non-studded) Michelin winter tyres for the morning loop. Kubica and two others were driving on Pirelli rally tyres for the event.


Loeb won the opening stage, while the Pole, Kubica won three stage of the day, until he crashed twice on the last stage to loose nearly three minutes and lost many positions on the ranking.

Loeb & Elena trying to fix the damage
The battle of the Seb's continued, and it was until the 9-time World Rally Champion made mistakes, the reigning Champ, Ogier, who took the advantage to gain back the lead. However in the last stage, Loeb made a costly error on an icy corner; slid off the road and damaged his left-rear wheel & had to give up on the transport section back to the service park. Frantic repairs did help a little, but at the end it was over. He would be returning the next day under super rally format.


Overall - after SS8

Pos  # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 1 FRA S. OGIER 1:52:07.4

2. 2 FIN J. LATVALA 1:53:52.8 +1:45.4 +1:45.4
3. 9 NOR A. MIKKELSEN 1:54:42.2 +49.4 +2:34.8
4. 6 EST O. TANAK 1:54:51.8 +9.6 +2:44.4
5. 12 NOR M. OSTBERG 1:55:10.3 +18.5 +3:02.9
6. 5 GBR E. EVANS 1:55:22.6 +12.3 +3:15.2
7. 7 BEL T. NEUVILLE 1:55:37.3 +14.7 +3:29.9
8. 8 ESP D. SORDO 1:56:10.4 +33.1 +4:03.0
9. 21  CZE M. PROKOP 1:57:07.0 +56.6 +4:59.6
10. 14 NOR H. SOLBERG 1:58:46.3 +1:39.3 +6:38.9

Four stages don the list of specials for Day 3 ,starting at 9.17 am local time, and with an epic 51.7 km marathon stage as the day's second test. After the mid-day service, the day's first stage is repeated and ends with the classic Sisteron-Thoard as final test for the day.



Action so far in videos! 


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#WRC2015, Master Drive by Monsieur Loeb, after Day1 at Rallye Monte-Carlo!

Thierry Neuville in his i20 WRC
Monte master Loeb does it again! It was a tricky road sections, along the two stages that ran tonight on the opening leg of Rally Monte-Carlo and the returning 9-timer shows how it has to be done. He started late at 14th position, yet was fastest in the first stage by flat 22s and ahead of the next fastest driver Ott Tanak.

Loeb's younger compatriot; two times world champion Sebastien Ogier, took the next stage win and narrowed the gap to13.3s after the second and last stage for the day. Jari-Matti Latvala was second quickest in the second test, Loeb finished third, but still fast enough to keep the overall lead to Day 2.

Loeb at the end of SS1
The first test of the day started after the Ceremonial start at Place du Casino in Monaco, and Ogier was the first off the ramp. After a quick tyre selection at the service camp, 10 km before the stage start; the Frenchman opted for studded tyres and was the first to drive through an altogether new stage that was last used way back in 1983. He completed the stage by setting a benchmark time of 16m24.4s.

Elfyn Evans under hard-braking
Although the skies were clear, the temperature hovering around ~2ºC, snow and ice reported along the 21.31 km stage [Entrevaux – Rouaine SS1].

Perhaps it was the first few cars which cleared most of the ice from the racing lines, which helped Loeb gain the massive lead of 30.9s over his former team-mate and defending champion; and it was sufficient for catapulting him up the score-board. Most of the drivers ahead of the 9-timer, had difficulty in keeping the car on the road and had at least one off-road moment, and bled time in the process.

Ogier claims SS2
In the following stage of 19.68km [Norante – Dignes les Bains SS2], Ogier complained of a wrong tire choice for the second and last test of the day, yet took the victory by over 10s over the nearest contender Latvala. Loeb finished third quickest, 17.6s slower to the reigning champ and  reports; "It was okay but a lot of gravel everywhere in every corner. I had a good tyre choice for the first stage but it wasn't the best for the second. I passed two cars in there - I'm not sure who they were."

It was Bryan Bouffier and Robert Kubica who were cruising through the stage to complete the opening leg, yet the pole had to retire, electrical problems reported.

The action will resume on Friday morning at 09:56 hrs [local-time, GAP], in full day light, and the real battle is expected on this long day with six special stages.

Results Overall- After SS2

Pos  # Flag + Driver Time Diff Prev  Diff 1st
1. 4 FRA S. LOEB 30:08.2

2. 1 FRA S. OGIER 30:21.5 +13.3 +13.3
3. 2 FIN J. LATVALA  30:44.3  +22.8 +36.1
4. 6 EST O. TANAK 30:46.8 +2.5 +38.6
5. 5 GBR E. EVANS 30:55.6 +8.8 +47.4

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#WRC2015, Rallye Monte-Carlo - Shakedown Report

Kris Meeke's jump
Master stroke by Sebastien Loeb



Bertelli basting through the wet corner
Evans in his Fiesta WRC
Rallye Monte-Carlo action begun yesterday with the shakedown of the rally. Returning world champ, Sebastien Loeb, who would be doing this only one round this year; was the fastest among the lot. He was quicker by 400th of a second to his team-mate Kris Meeke, both in their respective Citroen DS3 WRC cars. Sebastien Ogier was the third quickest in his new VW Polo R WRC.


The first stage will start tonight at 20:21 local time, Monaco. As per the new rules for the #WRC2015 season, Loeb will be the 14th to take the start as he had not scored any points last season.

Watch this below video for more details on the rally.

Itinerary-

Stage Name Distance (km) First Car
Day 1 - 22.01.2015
SS1 ENTREVAUX - ROUAINE 21.31 20:21
SS2 NORANTE - DIGNE-LES-BAINS (ETS THERMAL) 19.68 21:29
Day 2 - 23.01.2015
SS3 LA SALLE EN BEAUMONT - CORPS 1 15.84 09:56
SS4 ASPRES LES CORPS - CHAUFFAYER 1 25.81 10:29
SS5 LES COSTES - ST JULIEN EN CHAMPSAUR 1 25.40 11:07
SS6 LA SALLE EN BEAUMONT - CORPS 2 15.84 14:38
SS7 ASPRES LES CORPS - CHAUFFAYER 2 25.81 15:11
SS8 LES COSTES - ST JULIEN EN CHAMPSAUR 2 25.40 15:49
Day 3 - 24.01.2015
SS9 PRUNIERES - EMBRUN 1 19.93 09:16
SS10 LARDIER ET VALENCA - FAYE 51.70 10:49
SS11 PRUNIERES - EMBRUN 2 19.93 13:55
SS12 SISTERON - THOARD 36.85 15:43
Day 4 - 25.01.2015
SS13 COL ST JEAN - ST LAURENT 1 10.16 09:35
SS14 LA BOLLENE VESUBIE - SOSPEL 31.66 10:50
SS15 COL ST JEAN - ST LAURENT 2 (PS) 10.16 12:08


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#Dakar2015, Day 14 (Stage 13) - Rosario to Buenos Aires | Final Leg & Podium Ceremony

Marco Coma wading through the waterlogged mud roads

Final - Day 14 [Stage 13], at Dakar 2015.

A lead of 17 minutes over Paulo Gonçalves, is what makes Marc Coma to be focused on any possible mistakes that coudl happen over the 174 km special, but to his fortunate and race safety; the stage was stopped at CP2 due to heavy rain. The roads were terribly slippery and dangerous to continue and was called off to an early end. Cars & Trucks finished as early as CP1. Victory celebration started quicker than anticipated. Read on for more.





Bikes

Toby Price, Marco Coma & Paulo Goncalves with their 3, 1, 2nd place trophies - Dakar 2015 podium

5 timer Dakar winner now!
Slippery roads, rewards a fall
A fifth outright victory on the Dakar's 36th 2015 edition rewarded the KTM rider, Marc Coma, bringing him level with Cyril Despres who was Coma's team-mate till last 2013

However, he kept his calm as the roads were tougher and trickier than expected due to the torrential rains ruining it. Slovakian Ivan Jakes took the stage victory, while the Spaniard finished in 5th. Paulo Goncalves & Toby Price soon joined to claim their podium positions intact.
Laia Sanz celebrating her podium

CS Santosh with his medal at finish
A podium on a first outing for a rookie is an outstanding achievement, applause for the young Australian Toby. Lone lady bike rider, Spain's Laia Sanz finished in 9th overall ranking, yet another fantastic performance by an individual.



Sukhwant Basra, sports editor HT
Samuel Aldrin, CSS' mentor; enjoying
Indian rider CS Santosh finished the day in 51st ranking, and an overall 36th by the end of the day. With his super strong determination and will to finish, the Santosh is happy to finish the rally and we are really proud of him.

A salute to the supporters of the Indian, without them, the event would have not been possible and incomplete. Not to forget the billion hearts of India, cheering up the first man at Dakar from the peninsula.


Top 5 Bikes, Stage 14

Pos.  N°  NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
121JAKES (SVK)KTM00:52:06- -
218SVITKO (SVK)KTM00:52:5100:00:45-
326PRICE (AUS)KTM00:53:1300:01:07-
47GONCALVES (PRT)HONDA  00:53:21  00:01:15-
51COMA (ESP)KTM00:55:1700:03:11-
5159C S SANTOSH (IND)  KTM01:25:5300:33:47-


Overall Top 5 Bikes, after Stage 14

Pos.  N°  NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
11COMA (ESP)KTM46:03:49- -
27GONCALVES (PRT)HONDA  46:20:42  00:16:5300:17:00
326PRICE (AUS)KTM46:27:0300:23:14-
431QUINTANILLA (CHL)  KTM46:42:2700:38:38-
518SVITKO (SVK)KTM46:48:0600:44:17-
3659C S SANTOSH (IND)KTM60:39:2014:35:3100:40:00




Quads

Quads muddy way finish to the top
The least publicised competitors, and the few who had to take care of a huge machine on 4 wheels, behaving both as a 2 wheeler & a 4 wheeler. A tough machine to master over the course of 9k+ km over the harshest terrain.

Rafal 'Super' Sonik wins 2015 Dakar
Today Saaijman Willem, South African took his Yamaha to the stage win. Christophe Declerck was on his tail by 6 seconds, and Domaszewski by 9 seconds to the winner.

Rafal Sonik, or simply lovingly referred to as 'SuperSonik' won the 2015 edition of the dakar, by nearly 3 hours to the nearest rival, Gonzalez Ferioli & Nosiglia.

Top 5 Quads, Stage 14

Pos.  N°   NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1286SAAIJMAN (ZAF)YAMAHA  01:05:05  - -
2260DECLERCK (FRA)YAMAHA01:05:1100:00:06-
3270DOMASZEWSKI (ARG)HONDA01:05:1400:00:09-
4278CARIGNANI (ITA)YAMAHA01:05:4400:00:39-
5256SANABRIA GALEANO (PRY)  YAMAHA01:08:4700:03:42-


Overall Top 5 Quads, after Stage 14

Pos.  N°   NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1251SONIK (POL)YAMAHA57:18:39- 00:15:00
2261GONZALEZ FERIOLI (ARG)YAMAHA60:13:2902:54:50-
3283NOSIGLIA (BOL)HONDA61:01:3503:42:5600:20:00
4256SANABRIA GALEANO (PRY)  YAMAHA  61:28:36  04:09:5700:01:30
5260DECLERCK (FRA)YAMAHA63:07:1905:48:40-





Cars

Codriver Baumel & Nasser Al-attiyah with their no.1 trophy - Dakar 2015

Nasser Al-attiyah & Marc Coma
Robby Gordon ripping the mud road
In the car race, Nasser Al-Attiyah boasts a lead of 35 minutes over second placed Giniel de Villiers and he managed to all problems, thereby claiming a second title on the Dakar this evening. 

However, today's stage was the consolation price for the American driver Robby Gordon, who was fastest through the 34 km special, while the top order cautiously treaded along the final kilometers to avoid risking their podium prospects.


Top 5 Cars, Stage 14

Pos.  N°   NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1308GORDON (USA)
CAMPBELL (USA)
GORDINI00:13:16- -
2327POULTER (ZAF)
HOWIE (ZAF)
TOYOTA00:13:4100:00:25-
3316SPATARO (ARG)
LOZADA (ARG)
RENAULT  00:13:45  00:00:29-
4305TERRANOVA (ARG)
GRAUE (ARG)
MINI00:13:4700:00:31-
5303DE VILLIERS (ZAF)
VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU) 
TOYOTA00:13:5000:00:34-


Overall Top 5 Cars, after Stage 14

Pos.  N°   NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1301AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)
BAUMEL (FRA)
MINI40:32:25- 00:02:00
2303DE VILLIERS (ZAF)
VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU) 
TOYOTA  41:07:59  00:35:34-
3307HOLOWCZYC (POL)
PANSERI (FRA)
MINI42:04:2601:32:01-
4314VAN LOON (NLD)
ROSEGAAR (NLD)
MINI43:34:1703:01:5200:40:00
5310VASILYEV (RUS)
ZHILTSOV (RUS)
MINI43:45:0603:12:41-





Trucks

Kamaz team, Airat Mardeev, Eduard Nikolaev & Andrey Karginov celebrating their top 3 victory - Dakar 2015

Airat Mardeev & Kamaz team
Kamaz
It would only be foolish to take risk on the final few tenths of kms after more than 9000 kilometers of serious racing over unbelievable terrain.

Kamaz team knew that, so did others. Iveco team still tried their best to pressurize the rivals in the final stage, but only to console themselves with a stage victory. Hans Stacey won the final leg, while Airat MardeevEduard Nikolaev & Andrey Karginov bagged their hard earned podium positions by the end of the race.

Top 5 Trucks, Stage 14

Pos.  N°   NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1504STACEY (NLD)
BRUYNKENS (BEL)
DER KINDEREN (NLD) 
IVECO00:20:31- -
2508VAN VLIET (NLD)
PRONK (NLD)
KLEIN (DEU)
MAN00:21:5200:01:21-
3507MARDEEV (RUS)
BELYAEV (RUS)
SVISTUNOV (RUS)
KAMAZ  00:22:54  00:02:23-
4520SOTNIKOV (RUS)
DEVYATKIN (RUS)
AFERIN (RUS)
KAMAZ00:23:1600:02:45-
5502NIKOLAEV (RUS)
YAKOVLEV (RUS)
AKHMADEEV (RUS)
KAMAZ00:24:0300:03:32-



Overall Top 5 Trucks, after Stage 14

Pos.  N°    NameMarkTimeDifferencePenalty
1507MARDEEV (RUS)
BELYAEV (RUS)
SVISTUNOV (RUS)
KAMAZ42:22:01- -
2502NIKOLAEV (RUS)
YAKOVLEV (RUS)
AKHMADEEV (RUS)
KAMAZ42:35:5300:13:52-
3500KARGINOV (RUS)
MOKEEV (RUS)
LEONOV (RUS)
KAMAZ  43:13:01  00:51:0000:01:00
4503LOPRAIS (CZE)
MARCO ALCAYNA (ESP) 
VAN DER VAET (BEL)
MAN44:18:3801:56:37-
5520SOTNIKOV (RUS)
DEVYATKIN (RUS)
AFERIN (RUS)
KAMAZ44:46:3302:24:3200:02:00





What next?

2015 M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Rally roads before the event.
After a busy and long fortnight event, it is time for the first round of #WRC, Monte-Carlo Rally next week. This is completely different that what we were used for sometime now.

It is cold, no no no.. freezing cold, yes! Over the asphalt roads, although its barely seen at a few places, most is buried under snow & ice.

Sebastien Loeb
Citroen DS3 WRC with Loeb
Few changes in the regulations, newer cars with paddle shifters are some of the highlight for the season, and 7-time rally winner, and 9-time champion Sebastien Loeb will be returning for an one off rally.


And there is more.. a complete report will be made available soon!


Till then enjoy the playlist of the entire event of #Dakar2015 below,

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