Thierry Neuville takes Rally Monte Carlo!

Along with co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, Thierry Neuville celebrated his 20th world rally victory at the Rallye Monte-Carlo on Sunday afternoon, earning a perfect score of 30 points. The Hyundai i20 N driver led Toyota Gazoo Racing competitor Sébastien Ogier by 16.1 seconds in the opening stages of his 2024 FIA World Rally Championship title challenge in the French Alps thanks to an outstanding performance on the ice-patched mountain roads.

After brushing off early engine problems, Neuville launched an assault on Saturday, passing Ogier and Elfyn Evans, to take the lead with a razor-thin 3.3-second margin. His lead over the nine-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner was solidified on Sunday with a clean sweep of the quickest timings in the last leg.

On Saturday afternoon, Ogier led for a single stage, but despite his best efforts, the Frenchman was unable to hold off Neuville. Evans had the advantage after the first two legs, but on Saturday, he lost ground due to a hybrid unit issue. Ultimately, he finished 29.1 seconds behind Ogier, his teammate.

In his first rally wearing Hyundai colors since 2022, Ott Tänak finished fourth. Throughout the rally, the 2019 world champion was hampered by unexplained engine issues; nonetheless, a stage victory on Saturday morning demonstrated his prowess in the i20 N car.

Adrien Fourmaux finished fifth overall in his M-Sport Ford Puma, matching his best performance to date. Andreas Mikkelsen of Hyundai trailed him, while Takamoto Katsuta, who had skidded off the road on Friday, was over three minutes behind.

With a last-gasp Wolf Power Stage assault, Yohan Rossel and navigator Arnaud Dunand won the WRC2, moving up to eight overall in their AEC-DG Sport Competition-prepared Citroën C3. In the end, the Frenchmen overtook Pepe López/David Vazquez (Škoda Fabia RS), and the Citroën C3 pair Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov completed the top 10. The fact that López/Vazquez won the FIA WRC2 Challenger provided some comfort.

With their Ford Fiesta Rally3, Černý/Ondřej Krajča won the FIA WRC3 championship, and Mauro Miele, a regular at Rallye Monte-Carlo, and co-driver Luca Beltrame won the FIA Masters Cup.

The World Rally Championship’s second round will be held in Sweden on ice and snow. The only pure winter event in the series takes place in Umeå from February 15 – 18.

Hyundai I20 N – Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe Rally Monte Carlo Dark Race (Photo Credit: Images)

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