Evans reclaims Rallye Monte-Carlo lead from Ogier

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Today’s itinerary on Rallye Monte-Carlo contains the longest road distance but a comparatively short 75-kilometre competitive distance.

The features two identical loops of two stages split by the midday service in Gap  before the crews make their way down to Monaco in the evening. Because of the icy conditions, most drivers chose studded tyres to ensure maximum grip.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans, who led most of the action on Friday before losing the lead to his team mate Sébastien Ogier on the final stage yesterday, reclaimed the top position on the second stage this morning, thanks to a time that was 7.6 seconds faster than his closed rival.

After extending slightly his overnight lead on the first stage this morning, Ogier dropped to second after the incredible run from Evans. The Frenchman is now 4.8 seconds off the lead with two stages to run this afternoon.

Thierry Neuville won the opening stage of the day but couldn’t match the pace on the following tests. The Hyundai i20 Coupe driver ended Saturday morning in third place, 16.6sec behind the flying Welshman.

Neuville’s team-mate Sébastien Loeb maintained a lonely fourth, now more than a minute and a half behind the leader. Loeb tried to save his tyres in the first part of the stage but said that he
probably slowed down too much.

He’s now coming under threat from M-Sport’s Esapekka Lappi, now within 35 seconds of the Frenchman, while Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä continued his solid progress in sixth overall on
his World Rally Car debut.

In seventh, more than six minutes behind, is the FIA WRC3 leader Eric Camilli with his privately-run R5 Citroën, going from strength to strength.

Unlike yesterday, this morning’s action featured a classic Monte weather in the mountains around Gap, with black ice on the road causing hazardous road conditions for the competitors. One of the victims was Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who lost three minutes when he spun and hit a snow bank on SS9, dropping down to eight overall behind Camilli.

Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin is ninth overall in another Citroën C3 R5, while Norway’s Mads Ostberg is 10th, leading FIA WRC 2 in an identical factory-entered car.