Poor, poor Col de Turini. Legendary pass, with so much tradition and history about it, but for the second year in a row organizers were forced to cancel it. This time it wasn’t because of the spectators, but because of the heavy snow. The white stuff kept falling all through the evening and by the time crews arrived for the penultimate stage of the event, it was barely possible for them to climb up towards Col, which meant that the FWD cars would find the task even more difficult, not to mention the emergency service vehicles, etc. Safety first, but I am sure fans up there in the snow and cold were gutted beyond belief, waiting for hours only to see the cars driving by at safe road speed. My only hope is that most of the spectators were up there for both runs of this stage and were able to catch the action at the first running of this test.
Col or no Col, Sebastien Ogier again did his thing with the special stages, climbing back the order after losing huge amount of time earlier in the event. It was a great drive by our current champion and one that will see him top the list of favourites for another title this year. Granted, Monte was and always will be a bit special, but perhaps it’s unrealistic to isolate events like that. There aren’t many events you would describe as easy or easier. It’s always been about survival as much as speed so each and every position and point were well deserved this weekend. Volkswagen’s celebrations were further justified by Jari-Matti Latvala taking top position on the power stage.
Bryan Bouffier came in second and it’s only natural for him to be pleased about his performance in this difficult edition of Monte Carlo. Many people expected Bryan to be very fast here and he delivered on that promise. I cannot help but feel hope for Bryan, hope that there is still time and place for him to do more WRC events in a proper team with a proper car.
Maybe the biggest celebration of 2014 Rallye Monte Carlo will be the one in the Meeke – Nagle camp. The British crew drove an excellent rally. Just when it was important to be fast AND focused, Kris managed both with great ease. The confidence boost will be massive, I am sure, and this really could be the year Kris Meeke always deserved but never received until now in WRC.
There will be more words and opinions about Monte in coming days, because an epic event such as this does not fit in few sentences in this article.
Fantastic season of WRC is upon us, people, let’s enjoy it!