Courtesy of WRC Media Service Team
Belgian driver makes up for narrowly missing out in 2019.
delivered a stunning final day drive to score his first Rallye
Monte-Carlo victory on Sunday – 12 months after missing out in the
event’s closest-ever finish.
The Belgian won all four
final-leg speed tests in the mountains above Monaco to charge from
third, sealing a perfect weekend with maximum bonus points after winning
the closing Wolf Power Stage by 0.016sec.
Last year Neuville was pipped by 2.2sec by French hero Sébastien Ogier. Revenge was sweet this time as the Hyundai i20 driver demoted Ogier and overnight leader Elfyn Evans to win the four-day opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship by 12.6sec.
overhauled Toyota Yaris team-mate Evans in the final speed test to
finish 1.7sec ahead in second. Both drivers were making their Toyota
Gazoo Racing debuts.
“The target was to win this rally and
take revenge and it feels good right now,” said Neuville. “It’s
something we’ve been fighting for for a very long time. Rallye
Monte-Carlo is one of the most historic events that every WRC driver
wants to win at least once, and we’ve done it.”
He led after
Thursday night’s opening leg, but could only watch as Evans and Ogier
traded the lead several times over the next two days. Neuville was not
to be beaten, however, and he ended with nine fastest times from 16
Ogier missed out on a seventh consecutive
Monte win, but the Frenchman was satisfied with a podium start to his
Toyota career. Evans failed to find the same pace which had taken him to
the top of the standings ahead of Sunday’s finale.
finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta, securing a record-breaking 250th
consecutive points finish for M-Sport Ford. The Finn was almost three
minutes adrift of Evans and more than a minute clear of Toyota debutant Kalle Rovanperä in fifth, a career-best result for the teenager.
Both moved ahead of Sébastien Loeb,
who ended sixth after sliding off the road and dropping further time
when a poor tyre choice left him driving with badly worn rubber.
The series moves to Sweden for round two as Torsby hosts the snow and ice encounter on February 13-16.
1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 3hr 10min 57.6sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +12.6sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +14.3sec
4. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +3min 09.0sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +4min 17.2sec
6. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +5min 04.7sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 1 of 13)
1. T Neuville 30pts
2. S Ogier 22pts
3. E Evans 17pts
The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com