After SS 8, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia lead the Rallye Monte-Carlo 2020.
Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia (Toyota), leader
Séb, tell us about your day…
Overall it’s been a good day. The morning was not bad, but Elfyn definitely did better. In this case you know there’s room to improve if your team-mate is going faster. I worked at the midday service on the set-up and with my gravel-note crew. I was not having so much confidence, they were too much on the safe side and we lose time with that. But overall I’m happy with the day, we stay ahead of Thierry, it’s not a big gap, but we have to continue like this.
We saw Thierry open a big gap on stage two last night, but today shows things change quickly…
That’s the rally where a gap can happen, we know that’s possible. From what I heard there might still be some surprises coming before the end of the weekend. Tomorrow we can still have some ice, it’s not so much, but when you drive with the slick tyre it’s not easy. The feeling is good and I hope we can stay in the fight to the end.
It’s been your first full day with the team, how’s it been?
Yeah, step–by–step. It wasn’t perfect this morning, I did’t have so much confidence, especially on the bumpy section. But in the same time, like we discussed Elfyn was able to do better, and when your team-mate can do this there’s room [for you] to go faster. Sometimes you don’t need much change, we did small things at midday and I felt better in the afternoon.
Elfyn Evans – Scott Martin (Toyota), 2nd
Elfyn, you dominated the morning – were you surprised at the speed you showed so early on?
We knew the testing had been good, but you can never know how that will translate onto the rally. To be honest, I felt immediately quite comfortable in the car. I found the feeling from the test and that gave me confidence to drive well. I wasn’t trying to be crazy or stupid, just drive to a good rhythm. But this is tricky, this is the Monte and it never feels so safe. We’ll continue to drive well stage-by-stage. Seb turned the screw a little bit this afternoon, let’s see what comes tomorrow.
Do you have more pace?
At the end of the day this is Monte Carlo, it’s not really the rally where you take crazy risks. I have to hope to find the good feeling from the morning.
There’s a tricky stage to start tomorrow – it’s the one that caught you out last year…
Yeah, we were just discussing that. There might be a little bit more of a lift, I’ll give him [Ogier] a few tenths there.
Thierry Neuville – Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai), 3rd
Thierry, you had an amazing time in the second stage last night, but there’s still all to play for here?
Definitely there’s still all play for. We are still in the fight for victory. I hope for a much better day. We had the good feeling yesterday, it was a great start and I was able to drive very fast in tricky conditions. This morning was all more complicated and I struggle for rhythm and I could not find confidence. I worked with Dani to improve our language to get more competitive and each stage was starting to look a little bit better. I look forward to tomorrow.
Dani Sordo is your safety crew driver – you’re his boss now!
Dani is a very nice guy and I’m very happy the way he jumped in when Brun [Thiry] got sick. This was the only quick solution and he is one of the only guys I put a lot of confidence in. I will try to improve our collaboration, but of course it’s only for this rally. On the next rally we are competitors again.
You saw the marks where your team-mate Ott Tänak went off, that slowed you down?
That’s not what you want to see when somebody goes off at such a fast place. I thought he had restarted because people were slowing me down, so I thought he’d gone [off] again. I was told at the end of the stage he’d had a big crash. Now we have all seen the footage, it’s very impressive. It’s good to see our cars are safe.