Monte Carlo win for Loeb


After its winter of discontent, the World Rally Championship breathed a sigh of relief as it leapt back into action on the stages of the 2012 Rallye Monte Carlo. The shock collapse of the series' promoter, North One Sport, was perfectly offset by the predictability of the result: eight-time World Champion Sebastien Loeb collected his sixth career Monte Carlo victory.

Latvala lost his early lead after a crash
Latvala lost his early lead after a crash
The early stages of the rally fooled us all into believing that the ever dominant Frenchman mightn't have it all his own way, however. The perennially promising Jari-Matti Latvala raised a few eyebrows by leading the event in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC by no fewer than 30 seconds after three stages. An icy corner, a missed pacenote and a six-foot wall put the Finn out of the lead and, with no restarts permitted, out of the rally.

So Loeb inherited the number one position, eventually finishing 2min 45.5secs ahead of Mini World Rally Team lead driver Dani Sordo, with three extra bonus points to his name having also won the Power Stage.

"I am happy to win a rally that means a lot to me," said Loeb. "It's a big gap to second, but I wouldn't say that this was an easy win. We had to deal with all sorts of conditions and my lead was largely built on better tyre choices."

If Loeb's victory was foreseen by all and Latvala's exit frustrating, the final standings were littered with reasons to smile; Sordo's third podium for Mini in seven rallies, Petter Solberg's third position for the Ford World Rally Team on his return to a factory squad, Mikko Hirvonen's trio of fastest stage times following his defection to Citroen and, perhaps above all, 49-year-old WRC-returnee Francois Delecour showing a host of next generation rally winners how it's done by finishing a fine sixth overall.


For more Monte Carlo analysis check back later on today as PH rides shotgun with Citroen's new team boss

Hirvonen gets to grips with his Citroen
Hirvonen gets to grips with his Citroen
Nobody could get near Loeb's pace
Nobody could get near Loeb's pace
Solberg took third place for Ford
Solberg took third place for Ford
Sixth Monte win for eight-time champ Loeb
Sixth Monte win for eight-time champ Loeb

Comments (64) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Roderick5 26 Jan 2012

    For me there are two main problems with Motorsport today and they both contribute to each other.
    1 - You can't walk into a showroom and buy the car that is racing. Yes they share certain key components ( the mini come closest to what they sell ) but the old ethos of race it on a Sunday sell it on a Monday has gone. this applies to both touring cars and rally cars. Unless the governing bodies impose rules as they used to, were buy 500 or a 1000 or more, had to be built for the road before you could race then the interest in these motorsport classes will die off over the years to come. Which leads to the next point.
    2 - There is not good enough coverage on TV. The odd half hour on Motors TV. What happened to Motorsport Sunday.

    Put simply make a flared arched 4x4 / DS3 / Fiesta / Polo? / and lowered countryman for the road and spark some interest, so that its worth putting it on TV
    Rant over.

    Thank

    Ben

  • rwindmill 25 Jan 2012

    Dave_STI said:
    If you are bored of Loeb constantly wining do what I do...ignore him and follow the much more interesting battles for 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th wink

    WRC is still great, having to pay ESPN £144 extra a year to watch it is not...and the Motors TV 'coverage' is virtually unwatchable. Hopefully with North One out the door we might get it back on free to view TV with some decent commentators one day

    I follow the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship these days, it has a great mix of cars, teams and drivers...and is free to view on Motors TV...with half decent commentators smile

    Rallying is alive and well both in the UK and abroad, if you want to see some different cars/drivers they're out there, it's not all about the WRC!


    Edited by Dave_STI on Tuesday 24th January 18:00
    Agreed!!
    Motors TV coverage makes the WRC virtually unwatchable, the commentator seems to almost suck the life out of the images.
    I have been watching the Irish Tarmac Championship and the British Historic championship on and off over the past year or two, and it is indeed excellent. Mk2 Escorts battling with Darians, group B cars and older WRC machinery. And these guys are really trying as well, they arent talentless amateurs with a bit too much spare cash.
    However, dont watch the Canadian rally championship!!!! Minimal footage of cars on stage and a very annoying accent to boot.

  • Dave_STI 25 Jan 2012

    If you are bored of Loeb constantly wining do what I do...ignore him and follow the much more interesting battles for 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th wink

    WRC is still great, having to pay ESPN £144 extra a year to watch it is not...and the Motors TV 'coverage' is virtually unwatchable. Hopefully with North One out the door we might get it back on free to view TV with some decent commentators one day

    I follow the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship these days, it has a great mix of cars, teams and drivers...and is free to view on Motors TV...with half decent commentators smile

    Rallying is alive and well both in the UK and abroad, if you want to see some different cars/drivers they're out there, it's not all about the WRC!


    Edited by Dave_STI on Tuesday 24th January 18:00

  • jetpilot 25 Jan 2012

    rwindmill said:
    clinical approach to every rally

    If the analysis was based on driving style, spectator entertainment
    Very interesting prospective there, what should be we do, have a series of judges to raise boards after a stage like diving?

    Motorsport is about winning, plain and simple, no one goes to "race" to be the most stylish driver and crowd pleaser!

    If winning involves a clinical approach that's what great drivers will do as i am sure they are happier with first places or championship titles and £'s in the bank account than a few gymkhana videos on youtube ala Mr Block, entertaining as his first couple of videos were (the 3rd being just an extension of the arena or playground rather than originality in his "tricks", read drifting through obstacles), i would bet he would drop his cult following like a shot to be a WRC champion!

    On the flip side, i do agree wrc has become predictable and Loebs dominance has probably dulled the manufacturers willing to enter (again, no one races to come 2nd) and he has become a victim of his own success with subject matter such as this thread with people questioning his opposition during his time. However, one someone does beat Loeb, i will bet my bottom dollar they will be held in truly high regard for beating "the great Seb Loeb), it will be almost ironic!


    Edited by jetpilot on Tuesday 24th January 17:56

  • havard01 25 Jan 2012

    Thanks for the positive comments about the state of the WRC guys, I'm really looking forward to Rally Sweden now......

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