Includes Seb Ogier´s crashes.
Ogier starts new season with win 18 January 2014
Sebastien Ogier picks up where he left off in 2013 and wins Rallye Monte Carlo, the 2014 WRC season opener, 1 minute 18.9 seconds up on Bryan Bouffier; Britain's Kris Meeke takes the final podium spot.
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has got his WRC title defence off to the best possible start by claiming victory on Rallye Monte Carlo.
The Frenchman eventually swept through to take the win -- his second on the Monte, as he also won the event in 2009, albeit when it was part of the IRC and not WRC, by 1 minute 18.9 seconds, taking seven stage wins in total from a possible 14 (SS14 was cancelled).
Ogier was always the favourite to triumph, but looked to have his work cut out after losing time in SS3 on Thursday, when he failed to fit snow tyres. That cost him over a minute and dropped him from second to ninth, 1 minute 19.4 seconds off then rally leader, Bryan Bouffier.
Ogier then fought back though on the repeat loop in the afternoon, winning the final two stages, to end the day fourth -- 47.3 seconds off the lead.
On Friday, the VW man continued to push, winning three more stages and finishing second in the other two. That combined with the fact Bouffier spun in SS9 and lost over 40 seconds handed the initiative back to Ogier and after that he was never really troubled, although he had to settle for second in the Power Stage, as team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala was 0.2 seconds quicker.
"It's been tough," said Ogier. "There was so much fog in this [final] stage. We're happy to finish. I wasn't in the mood to take risks for bonus points on this stage, [the result is] already perfect."