Sébastien Ogier will start the final Rallye Monte-Carlo day on the cusp of a fourth straight win.
Thierry Neuville had never been headed since Thursday night’s start, but an impact midway through the final speed test of the penultimate leg broke his Hyundai i20 Coupe’s rear left suspension and handed the advantage to Ogier.
The Frenchman was 47.1sec ahead of Ford Fiesta team-mate Ott Tänak, with just four tests in the mountains above Monaco standing between the four-time world champion and victory.
WRC Promoter has signed a multi-year contract with OneBet to become the first Official Sports Betting Partner of the FIA World Rally Championship.
From next month’s Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February), WRC fans can add to their enjoyment of the world’s toughest motorsport series for production-based cars with a wide range of betting opportunities at www.onebet.com.
OneBet will offer pool, odds and live betting as well as providing exclusive content and expert tips to add to the excitement of the new-era WRC, which begins on Thursday (19 January) at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The build-up and fever pitch expectation is almost over as next week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January) heralds the start of one of the most keenly-anticipated FIA World Rally Championship seasons in memory.
Dynamic new-look World Rally Cars will echo through the mountains of the French Alps as four of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers begin the fight for supremacy in motorsport’s toughest championship for production-based cars.
The 13-round series spans four continents in an 11-month global tour, encompassing extreme temperatures that can reach a scorching 35°C in Sardinia and plunge to a bone-chilling -25°C in the harsh Swedish winter.
The final stage in Río Cuarto has brought the Dakar Rally challenge to a close. Monster Energy Honda Team commanded throughout, winning half the stages disputed. Both Joan Barreda – winner of four stages – and Paulo Gonçalves finished among the top riders overall.
Monster Energy Honda Team Refuse To Throw In The Towel, Sealing The Team's Fifth Stage Win With A One-Two For Barreda And Goncalves
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The Monster Energy Honda Team continue to show a high level of commitment to the race and are tenaciously battling on until the end. In the penultimate stage of the Dakar 2017, Joan Barreda was the best of the one hundred bikers who made it to Río Cuarto, with Paulo Gonçalves posting the day’s second quickest time. The Honda CRF450 RALLY has now triumphed in five stages.
The natural disasters of two days ago in Jujuy and the cancelation of the ninth stage yesterday are now history and today the Dakar Rally was back on its scheduled route. In the suffocating regions of La Rioja and San Juan, the Monster Energy Honda Team grabbed the glory with a stage win.
A second stage triumph for Joan Barreda who commanded from start to finish in both specials of the Rally Dakar 2017 eighth stage. The Monster Energy Honda Team once again gave a master class in a race hampered by the weather.
The South Racing Ford Ranger crew of Marco Bulacia and Claudio Bustos resumed their challenge for honours at the 2017 Dakar Rally on a revised 161km special stage between La Paz and Uyuni in Bolivia on Monday.
Despite adverse weather conditions in the region over several days, race officials managed to find a makeshift stage that offered its very own perils and Bulacia - who started the day 19th on the road - continued his Dakar challenge to record a time of 2hr 23min 33sec and maintain 22nd in the overall standings.
Overdrive Racing’s Joan Roma and Alex Haro resumed their challenge for a first ever Dakar Rally victory for the Toyota brand by moving up to third overall on the shortened 161km special stage between La Paz and Uyuni in Bolivia on Monday.
Running with support from Monster Energy, Power Electronics and Air Europa, Roma began the special from second position on the road behind Frenchman Sébastien Loeb and reached the amended finish in fifth place after dropping five minutes on the track.
The Spaniard now trails the rally-leading Stéphane Peterhansel by 11min 07sec heading into the second half of the Marathon stage, but he was able to move ahead of Cyril Despres and claim the final provisional podium position. Peterhansel extended his advantage over Loeb to 1min 57sec at the top of the leader board.
The special featured a lot of sandy sections, dunes and tricky navigation at the start and mud and large water splashes towards the finish.
The midpoint Rest Day of the 2017 Dakar Rally is already a distant memory as racers are left fending for themselves on the fringes of the world’s largest salt flat in Uyuni, Bolivia. Stage Seven is the first half of this year’s marathon stage so every competitor still in the race spends tonight separated from their mechanics and any work needed on their machines must be performed solo.
Adding to the increased difficulty that comes with a marathon stage have been the “extreme climatic conditions” we have been experiencing in Bolivia. Heavy downpours of rain have played havoc with the course and a redesigned Stage Seven gave us a timed special stage of 161km over mostly sandy terrain. Taking a vantage point of the action today was windsurfing legend Robby Naish who after touring the Rest Day bivouac got to see those same machines unleashed over open country.
A full day’s racing resumed at the 2017 Dakar today, with a revised Stage 7 route that integrated some of the locations from the cancelled Stage 6 into the road book. After poor weather conditions caused Stage 5 to be shortened and Stage 6 cancelled, yesterday’s rest day provided the perfect opportunity for organisers to change the first part of the marathon stage today. The Dakar website referred to the new road book as an unprecedented combination of the original routes, with the drivers doing battle on mostly sandy terrain for two of the day’s main sections.
The combination of a sandy stage and two days’ rest seemed to work well for Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Perin (FRA) as the pair showed a return to form in the #303 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car. The Finn completed today’s section of the race in 4th position, just over 5 minutes behind the race winner to maintain 5th place in the overall standings.
Éric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas will be joined by Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula this year as both crews take to the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 for campaigns in the FIA World Rally Championship’s principal support series – WRC 2.
Both Fiestas will carry liveries that draw inspiration from the geometric ‘disguise’ livery which adorned the all-new Ford Fiesta WRC test car and forms the base designs for M-Sport’s lead drivers – Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tänak.
The Monster Energy Honda Team is going all out in the battle for the Rally Dakar 2017 as the squad posts their best podium finish to date. Today, Ricky Brabec picked up top honours for the first time in the rally, with team-mate Paulo Gonçalves taking second spot.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa and Overdrive Racing reached the traditional rest day at the halfway point of the 2017 Dakar Rally in La Paz with six of their eight Toyota Hiluxes still very much in the hunt for a finish in Buenos Aires on January 14.
The first half of the event through Paraguay, northern Argentina and southern Bolivia had been one of the most unpredictable on record and had accounted for Toyota’s early race leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Frenchman Ronan Chabot.
But Overdrive Racing’s Joan Roma was well placed in fourth overall to challenge for the outright victory over the remaining six stages before the finish festivities in the Argentine capital. With 22 Dakars behind him, Roma has the experience necessary to assess the current situation and plan his strategy to challenge for the win. The 2014 winner is receiving valuable support from Monster Energy, Power Electronics and Air Europa for his Dakar challenge.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Giniel de Villiers had endured a fraught few days by his exacting standards and the South African reached the rest halt in La Paz in eighth position and needing to pull out all the stops over the remaining specials if he is to continue his remarkable run of podium finishes.
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