Bryan Bouffier leads Rallye MonteCarlo, after Day 1 | WRC – 2014

Rallye MonteCarlo roads can be bad for you, especially if you don’t respect it during winter! It proved true for the debuting Hyundai World Rally Team‘s driver Thierry Neuville on the very first stage in under 10 km from the start. He crashed heavily on the car’s rear, fortunately nobody was hurt, but did populate the first on the retirement list of the rally within an hour of competitive stage start.

Fortunate or unfortunate, it was a driver error in his case, but not so with the second car, piloted by Dani Sordo. His i20 WRC suffered a flat battery quickly after SS4 & had to retire. And remember, in Monte if you retire, there is no Rally2 and the end of the game. Right there! A bitter start to the debuting team, unfortunately.

It was the pole, Robert Kubica who started to show his potential with consecutive stage wins in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC. The third stage victory went to another Fiesta driver Bryan Bouffier, who took over the overall tops from the pole and retains at the end of the day with a gap of 38.8s.

Ogier, Latvala & Mikkelsen seemed lost with bad choice of tires, and remember it is not just tarmac or wet-tarmac here. Ice and snow lines a good sheet of anti-grip layer on the tarmac, hence most of the top players were troubled by it. So much is the importance of it, even a front wheel driven R3T car piloted by Sebastien Chardonnet was 4th quickest in SS3 up against the big boys!

Citroen WRT‘s newer drivers, Kris Meeke & Mads Ostberg were making some good times, while Monte the experts were failing. Meeke is in the runnerup spot by the end of the day.

The stages for the day were,
  1. Orpierre – St Andre De Rosans  [25.49 km]
  2. Rosans – Ste Marie – La Charce [17.98 km]
  3. Montauban Sur L’Ouveze – Laborel [19.34 km]

These stages were run twice consecutively, once in morning and for the final time in the noon after a service break.

In the second pass of the morning’s stages, Volkswagen drivers sprang up with the right tyre choice and took the stages win, Latvala SS4 & Ogier the remaining two stages of the day and moves up to 4th overall.
Top 10 overall scoreboard [courtesy], by the end of SS6 [Day 1]

Pos    No    Driver Time           Diff Prev     Diff 1st
1. 1 FRA S. OGIER 11:11.9
2. 2 FIN J. LATVALA 11:15.9 +4.0 +4.0
3. 4 NOR M. OSTBERG 11:28.9 +13.0 +17.0
4. 3 GBR K. MEEKE 11:29.6 +0.7 +17.7
5. 5 FIN M. HIRVONEN 11:30.4 +0.8 +18.5
6. 11 FRA B. BOUFFIER 11:31.7 +1.3 +19.8
7. 10 POL R. KUBICA 11:33.1 +1.4 +21.2
8. 9 NOR A. MIKKELSEN 11:40.0 +6.9 +28.1
9. 6 GBR E. EVANS 11:45.6 +5.6 +33.7
10. 45 FRA M. MARGAILLAN 12:17.7 +32.1 +1:05.8

Nine more stages more to declare the winner, with 5 stages on tomorrow’s itinerary and the remaining four for Saturday.

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