This past weekend the 2012 World Rally Championship season opened with the Rallye Monte-Carlo. And as has become very common in WRC competition, the rally was won by Sebastien Loeb driving a Citroen DS3. In fact, this was the sixth time that Loeb has won this rally! Not only did Loeb get the 25 points for the rally win, he picked up 3 additional points for winning the event-closing Power Stage. This type of maximum-point rally result appears to mean that once again Loeb could be difficult to de-throne as the WRC Champion in 2012.
In a great result for the MINI team, Dani Sordo finished second in his MINI John Cooper Works car. It is interesting to note that this is first team that MINI has been on the podium at the Rallye Monte-Carlo since 1967 when Rauno Aaltonen won this event in a Mini Cooper S in 1967.
Petter Solberg, who this year gave up his privateer status for a factory ride in a Fiesta RS, had a great result by claiming the third step on the Monte-Carlo podium. Another of the new team debutants, Mikko Hirvonen in his first drive in the Citroen DS3 had a good result by finishing fourth. Evgeny Novikov took fifth in his M-Sport Fiesta.
It Will Take Time to Get Used to Hirvonen in a Citroen
I was surprised to see that French rally legend and former Rallye Monte-Carlo winner, Francois Delecour took sixth in his first WRC drive since 2002. My main recollection of him is seeing some in-car video of Delecour going ballistic on his co-driver due to some alleged transgression on the stage.
Craig Breen won the Super 2000 World Rally Championship division in his Fiesta while finishing in 14th place overall. Michal Kosciuszko drove a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X to the Production Car World Rally Championship division win by finishing in 30th position overall.
The WRC Drivers Championship standings are presented below based on the results of the 2012 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
2012 WRC Drivers Points Standings After Rallye Monte-Carlo
The 2012 World Rally Championship season resumes with Rally Sweden from 9-12 February.