Toyota Gazoo Racing opened its 2024 FIA World Rally Championship season with a double podium finish at Rallye Monte-Carlo yesterday (28 January), with Sébastien Ogier second and Welshman Elfyn Evans third.
Both drivers were involved in a fight for victory throughout the event, where they faced a challenging mix of conditions on the asphalt roads of the French Alps.
Ogier spectacularly claimed the lead during Saturday afternoon when he recorded the 700th stage win of his WRC career; he went into the final day just 3.3 seconds away from first-placed Thierry Neuville (Hyundai).
Despite his best efforts in pursuit of a record-extending victory in Monte Carlo, Ogier and his co-driver Vincent Landais eventually had to settle for second place, finishing 16.1s behind the winner.
Evans (above) and his co-driver Scott Martin made an excellent start to their season when the rally got underway on Thursday night, claiming an early lead that they held until Saturday morning.
After banking good points under the championship’s new format by ending the penultimate day in third, Evans continued to push hard on Sunday when additional points were on offer for the fastest drivers. He took second in Sunday’s separate classification, plus fourth in the rally-ending Power Stage, to end the weekend with 21 points and third place in the standings. Ogier, who was second in the Power Stage and third-fastest across Sunday, is second on 24 points.
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h9m30.9s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +16.1s
3 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +45.2s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m59.8s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m36.9s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +5m34.6s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +8m28.5s
8 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m29.8s
9 Pepe López/David Vázquez (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m33.8s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m45.2s