Current - 2005 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo

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2005 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo Summary

Rallye Monte CarloSebastien Loeb (Citroen) claimed his third consecutive Monte Carlo Rally success. The Frenchman set eight fastest times on his way to victory by 2min 58.3sec. The three-way fight for second between Gardemeister, Petter Solberg (Subaru) and Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) ended just a couple of bends after the famous Col de Turini this morning. Both crashed at the same place on snow thrown onto the road by spectators. Both ripped wheels from their cars and while Grönholm was able to limp through the stage, albeit losing five minutes, the Norwegian had to retire. Ironically he had looked the likely winner of the battle, having just moved ahead of Gardemeister and closing fast on Grönholm. The carnage promoted Panizzi to third, despite clutch difficulties that prompted the Frenchman to believe he might not see the finish. Markko Märtin (Peugeot) kept clear of trouble to finish fourth on his debut for the French team. Ninth place was good enough for Alex Bengue (Skoda) to claim the final manufacturers' point on his works debut.

On Leg 2 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) again dominated, stretching his lead to 1min 54.7sec. However, second-placed team-mate François Duval crashed into a telegraph pole near the end of stage 6. Co-driver Stéphane Prévot was taken to hospital but released with bruising to his leg. Their demise left an untroubled Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) in second. Behind Gardemeister, Petter Solberg (Subaru) is chasing hard. The Norwegian is only 9.2sec behind, yesterday's braking difficulties now solved. Gilles Panizzi (Mitsubishi) abandoned his car's new paddle-operated gearchange on the steering wheel in favour of the traditional gearlever. It seemed to work as the Frenchman climbed to sixth, setting one fastest time. Private entrant Didier Auriol retired from seventh with engine problems while Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru) understeered into a barrier 1km from the end of stage six and broke a steering arm. He was sidelined but, under new regulations, will return tomorrow with a time penalty added to his total for each stage missed. Armin Schwarz (Skoda) rolled out on stage seven, the German taken to hospital with bruising to his left shoulder. Team-mate Alex Bengue was impressive, winning two stages before breaking a wheel on the final test. He could not make repairs and had to stop. Like Sarrazin, he will restart tomorrow with a time penalty.

On Leg 1 World champion Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) took the lead on the opening stage and was never headed, despite spinning on the penultimate stage on snow thrown onto the road by spectators. Team-mate François Duval was 32.7sec behind, despite spinning at the same place as Loeb. Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) was the only driver to interrupt Loeb's string of fastest times on his way to third. Team-mates Petter Solberg and Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru) struggled with fading brakes throughout the day, the Norwegian going off the road on the opening stage. He lies fourth, with his French colleague in ninth. Gilles Panizzi (Mitsubishi) suffered gear selection problems for most of the day but lies eighth, just behind the privately-entered car of former world champion Didier Auriol. Team-mates Armin Schwarz and Alex Bengue (Skoda) both suffered daylong hydraulic problems which affected their cars' differentials and launch control systems. Bengue leads the Czech team's challenge in 12th, just behind Harri Rovanperä (Mitsubishi), the Finn competing on his first asphalt rally since October 2002. There were no major retirements.

Unofficial Top 10 Overall Results

1st. S. Loeb Citroën Xsara
2nd. T. Gardemei.. Ford Focus (Mk1)
3rd. G. Panizzi Mitsubishi Lancer
4th. M. Märtin Peugeot 307
5th. M. Grönholm Peugeot 307
6th. M. Stohl Citroën Xsara
7th. H. Rovanperä Mitsubishi Lancer
8th. R. Kresta Ford Focus (Mk1)
9th. A. Bengué Skoda Fabia (1)
10th. A. Warmbold Ford Focus (Mk1)

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Unofficial Top 10 Retirements

#239. S. Sarrazin Subaru Impreza (..
#11. F. Duval Citroën Xsara
#252. A. Schwarz Skoda Fabia (1)
#12. D. Auriol Peugeot 206
#4. R. Kresta Ford Focus (Mk1)
#252. A. Bengué Skoda Fabia (1)
#253. P. Andersson Suzuki G3X Ignis
#253. G. Wilks Suzuki G3X Ignis
#12. L. Rossetti Peugeot 206
#239. P. Solberg Subaru Impreza (..

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Unofficial Top 10 Entries

#1. S. Loeb Citroën Xsara
#2. F. Duval Citroën Xsara
#3. T. Gardemei.. Ford Focus (Mk1)
#4. R. Kresta Ford Focus (Mk1)
#5. P. Solberg Subaru Impreza (..
#6. S. Sarrazin Subaru Impreza (..
#7. M. Grönholm Peugeot 307
#8. M. Märtin Peugeot 307
#9. H. Rovanperä Mitsubishi Lancer
#10. G. Panizzi Mitsubishi Lancer

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