The 2019 WRC (World Rally Championship) kicked off in Monte-Carlo this weekend, and the new season pretty-much picked up where last year left off: Sebastien Ogier just barely beat Thierry Neuville for the win, even though Ott Tänak was the fastest car on the road all weekend. Tänak was effectively out of the running due to a tire puncture early on. Still, he clawed his way back to third place, which was a pretty impressive feat to watch. Neuville himself only lost by about 2 seconds, and if not for a 20-second or so off-road excursion early in the rally, he probably would've won outright.
Making Ogier's win all the more impressive, was that this was his first rally for his new team: Citroën. Also faring well for their new teams: Chris Meeke for Toyota (who won the Power Stage, and managed not to destroy his car), and Sebastien Loeb, who despite just having gotten back from the Dakar rally, and driving for a new team (Hyundai), managed fourth place, less than 15 seconds off the podium. But then again, he is a nine-times world champion. But he's been out of the WRC for several years, apart from a handful of races, so it's still impressive.
M-Sport/Ford, having lost Ogier, aren't expected to be competitive this year. But hopefully their two drivers will improve throughout the year, and have some good showings anyway. It's nice to have a full complement of manufacturers again. It's good for the sport.
Rally Sweden is coming up in just a few weeks - and this season is already shaping up to be a good one! Stay tuned to my blog for an entire season of pointless recaps!
You can also check out the action from Monte-Carlo at Redbull.tv.
- Thomas Jentzsch likes this