First two stages of Rallye Monte Carlo’s third leg finished in mixed conditions as crews battled their way through snow and ice. Once again it was important to make the right call in picking the tyres for this set of stages, and some drivers had more luck in this than the others.
On first stage of the day fastest man was Petter Solberg in Ford, ahead of local hero Francois Delecour, who was only 3,3 seconds slower than Delecour. Third place went to Russian Evgeny Novikov as overall leader Sebastien Loeb took careful approach and scored only 6th fastest time. However, Loeb is still safely in the lead of the rally with over 1 minute i 20 seconds lead. Excellent performance on SS 11 saw Solberg climbing again to second place in front of Dani Sordo.
As drivers feared, next special stage proved a lot trickier, with more ice and snow it presented unique challenge to crews without any studded tyres on their cars. Petter Solberg was one of the victims, he lost a lot of time on SS 12 and dropped once again behind Sordo, but this time his deficit is huge, over 57 seconds. More importantly, Solberg is now within striking distance of Mikko Hirvonen. Finnish driver picked just the right tyres and was fastest of SS12. He is now 39 seconds behind Solberg.
“We made good tyre choice. Good stage. Game on.” said Hirvonen at the end of SS 12.