First half of first leg is behind us and one thing is certain – 80th Monte will be exciting and intense as ever! Even though crews only tackled two stages so far, it was enough to spring some surprises.
First stage of the rally went to Sebastien Loeb in Citroën but only just, as Mini leading driver Dani Sordo followed closely behind and finished SS 1 just 1 second behind Loeb. Stage was mostly dry with patches of humid and ice areas. Third place went to another Citroën’s driver Mikko Hirvonen ahead of his former teammate Jari-Matti Latvala.
Second stage proved a bit trickier due to snow, so crews had their first tyres gamble. It seems Latvala did not think much of snow and catious approach – he obviously made optimal choice of tyres and then stormed through SS 2 and claimed victory, almost half a minute ahead of Ford’s teammate Petter Solberg. Third place went to Sebastien Ogier in his traning outing behind the wheel of Škoda Fabia S2000. Ogier was just 2,7 seconds slower than Solberg and got up to 6th in general classification. On SS2 Loeb was more than 50 seconds slower than Latvala. That enabled the Finn to take over the lead by just over half a minute ahead of Loeb.
Classification after SS 2:
2. Loeb +30,5
3. Petter +40,8
4. Sordo +44,1
5. Hirvonen +1.04,0
6. Ogier +1.10,9