Sébastien Ogier took a huge step towards securing a historic eighth Rallye Monte-Carlo win on Saturday after recapturing the lead to head a clean sweep of the podium places for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
The Frenchman retained his cool on polished snow in the next test. Although Evans claimed back time by winning the final stage, Ogier made the journey south to Monaco with a 13.0sec advantage in his Yaris with one day remaining.
Kalle Rovanperä completed Toyota’s treble in third. Victory on the middle of today’s three stages enabled Thierry Neuville to close within a whisker in his Hyundai i20, but the young Finn repelled the pressure to end the day 7.0sec ahead. He was 43.8sec behind Evans.
Ott Tänak’s hold on third ended when he punctured twice in successive stages. With just one spare onboard his i20 the Estonian limped to service, but organisers decided there was insufficient rubber on the rim to drive on the public road and he was forced out.
Dani Sordo was fifth, more than a minute adrift of team-mate Neuville. With Tänak sidelined in the other car and unable to restart tomorrow, the Spaniard must finish to deliver vital manufacturer points for the Korean squad so he eased his pace to avoid risks.
Takamoto Katsuta moved up to sixth in another Yaris, more than 2min 30sec back and with almost 40sec in hand over FIA WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen in a Skoda Fabia.
Gus Greensmith had a more consistent day in his Ford Fiesta and held eighth, with FIA WRC2 contenders Adrien Fourmaux and Eric Camilli completing the leaderboard.
France’s Yohan Rossel in 12th overall leads the FIA WRC3 class with a significant advantage over fellow countrymen Yohann Bonato (+2min 00.2sec) and Nicolas Ciamin (+3min 40.3sec).
Sunday’s new-look final leg features a double pass through Puget-Théniers – La Penne and Briançonnet – Entrevaux, totalling 54.48km. There will be no service and the second run through the latter forms the bonus points-paying Power Stage.
Rallye Monte-Carlo 2021 – Provisional Results after Section 5:
|1. Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2 hr 16min 31.9sec|
|2. Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2 hr 16min 44.9sec|
|3. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2 hr 17min 28.7ec|
|4. Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martin Wydaeghe (BEL)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2 hr 17min 35.7sec|
|5. Dani Sordo (ESP) / Carlos Del Barrio (ESP)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2 hr 18min 43.2sec|
|6. Takamoto Katsuta (JAP) / Daniel Barritt (GBR)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2 hr 21min 15.0sec|
|7. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) / O. Floene (NOR)||Škoda Fabia Evo||2 hr 21min 54.6sec|
|8. Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR)||Ford Fiesta WRC||2 hr 22min 46.5sec|
|9. A. Fourmaux (FRA) / R. Jamoul (FRA) FIA WRC2||Ford Fiesta MK II||2 hr 24min 08.4sec|
|10. Eric Camilli (FRA) / FX Buresi (FRA) FIA WRC2||Citroën C3||2 hr 24min 26.0sec|