WRC: Rally Monte Carlo Day 2 Takeaways
At the end of the longest day and the halfway point of Rally Monte Carlo we look at the top takeaways from another eventful day.
Evans Leads Again
If last year it came as a shock to see Welshman Elfyn Evans at the top of the leaderboard for much of the Rally, this year it was not so. After a solid day yesterday, he once again did all that was asked of him on another tough day, in order to put himself at the top of the timing sheets overnight. His only stage win thus far coming in the SS6, a stage that was the downfall for teammate Ogier as the Frenchman had a lead of over 10 seconds coming into it but after a puncture resulting in a spin cost him many seconds he found himself dropped down to 3rd. Evans, as we saw in Turkey last year was there to take advantage when those around him had problems, although he did lose a great chunk of his advantage in the final test of the day where Ogier got up to 2nd and is only 7.4 behind Evans which as we know in Monte is nothing. As for tomorrow, it is the shortest day but promises to be one of the most challenging so it is all to play for.
Hyundai Drop Back
It was not the day Hyundai would have been looking for today, Tanak was in a great position to extend his advantage and really stamp his authority on the rally. Unfortunately, it was not to be as he was plagued by engine troubles in the morning leading him to leak time to his rival. The afternoon was a little better but decided to get a time on the board rather than put everything on the line, the result of this leaves him 25.3 seconds off the lead which on this rally is still very much in contention. As for Thierry Neuville, it was once again a matter of getting to grips with a new co-driver, he has been more on the pace today but with the damage done yesterday, he is in a battle with Rovanpera for 4th which is likely going to be the best he can hope for this weekend. Lots can change in the last 2 days and it is still a possibility we could see both Hyundai's on the podium but it would take something special.
WRC2 in the Top 10
As I said in my preview I expected great things from WRC2 this event and boy have we got it, there might not be the same seesaw battle for the lead, but the top drivers in particularly Mikkelsen and Fourmaux have been regularly mixing with the lower WRC cars. This is going to be a mix of the inexperience of the lower WRC drivers along with the pure competitiveness that these Rally2 cars and drivers are showing. Andreas and Adrien are both sitting in the top10 overall with Fourmaux driving a Fiesta Rally2 one place above the supposed 'A' team car of Gus Greensmith in the WRC car. This is going to be incredibly disheartening for Gus, who is carrying M-Sport honours following Suninen's crash yesterday, he himself has been free of incidents and can't be happy with where he sits in the standings. The next few days are highly important for him to prove he is the future but he is going to need to find some speed from somewhere.