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Ogier wins Monte Carlo Rally again
26 Jan 2015 11:11
Sebastien Ogier wrapped up his third Monte Carlo rally title on Sunday morning as Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke won two of the final day's three stages to finish 10th overall.
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The Volkswagen team claimed all three places on the podium of the opening rally of the season.
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Ogier, who held a 43 second lead coming into the final day, played it safe with his tyre choices but still managed to extend his overall advantage to 58 seconds ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala in second and Andreas Mikkelsen in third.
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"Victory in Monte-Carlo means a lot - especially for me, so close to my home town, and at the first rally of the season," Ogier, who hails from Gap, France, said on the WRC website.
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"It's a huge challenge but the satisfaction is even more when you make it. Conditions were so tricky this year, but it has been the best atmosphere of a rally I have ever known."
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Dungannon man Meeke was quickest in his Citroen on the first of the day's three stages, a 10km run up the Col de Braus and the steep descent into St Laurent, taking it by 1.1 seconds from team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
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The roads had largely cleared of snow and ice, but Ogier opted for the super soft and soft tyres to minimise risk, and picked up 4.6 seconds on Latvala.
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Next up was stage 14, a 31.66km stage which included an assault on the Col de Turini and the hairpins on the run down to Moulinet.
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Loeb took the stage by 8.8 seconds from Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg while Ogier came in fifth, picking up another 11.4 seconds over Latvala who was struggling with his brakes.
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However, Robert Kubica had a more dramatic issue with his own brakes, which failed as he crossed the finish line, causing him to crash out of the rally as he went off the road and two wheels were ripped from his Ford Fiesta.
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With a healthy advantage, Ogier simply needed to finish the final TV Power Stage without major issue to wrap up the victory and he duly did so while Meeke took his second stage win of the day from Loeb, to finish 10th overall, an impressive rise from 21st place after crashing out on Friday.
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Waterford driver Craig Breen finished second in the second-tier WRC 2 bracket over the same course, behind Stephane Lefebvre.
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Having started the day in fifth place, Peugeot Rally Academy driver Breen won two of the morning’s three stages to bring his “SAINTeLOC Racing” run Peugeot 208 T16 home in second place and earn 18 Championship points from the season opener.
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