Neuville claims maiden Monte success with Hyundai/Michelin
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Neuville claims maiden Monte success with Hyundai/Michelin


The outstanding grip provided by Michelin’s Pilot Sport range in the challenging conditions thrown up by the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo helped Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul and Hyundai Motorsport collect their first ever victory on the winter classic, while Michelin’s Customer Competition tyres contributed to WRC2 and WRC3 glory for Citroën’s Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli respectively. 

This year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo produced the event’s familiar cocktail of snow, ice and clear asphalt, ensuring that tyres were once again a chief talking point in the French Alps.

Despite the event’s trademark tricky roads and unpredictable grip levels, Michelin’s WRC runners were able to benefit from the versatility of the firm’s Pilot Sport tyres and all four of the available choices (soft and super-soft asphalt tyres, plus non-studded and studded Alpins) were employed during the four-day rally.

Meanwhile, the latest addition to Michelin’s Customer Competition range – the Michelin MW1 – made its debut appearance at international level and was readily praised by those amateur crews who elected to fit this particularly versatile new rain tyre.

Experienced Swiss driver Olivier Burri, who has contested the Monte Carlo no fewer than 19 times, said he decided to take part in this year’s event because he had the opportunity to use the new MW1 which shares technologies with Michelin winter tyres like the Pilot Alpin 6 and Cross Climate.

The efficiency of Michelin’s Rallye Monte Carlo tyres contributed to a thrilling a battle for supremacy between Toyota and Hyundai, with M-Sport also showing strongly. Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin) led after Thursday’s two night-time stages but was toppled the next morning by Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin) who posted three fastest times on the trot, while reigning champ Ott Tänak survived a frightening high-speed crash.

In the afternoon, Evans was passed in turn by seven-time Monte winner Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin). The Toyota Gazoo Racing pair proceeded to trade first place on Saturday but were ultimately overhauled by Neuville, winner of the last day’s four stages.

The Belgian’s maiden Monte victory was Michelin’s 29th Monte success. The French tyre firm will now switch its attention to scoring a possible 30th victory next month in Sweden and perhaps notching up its 350th WRC win later in the season.

Ogier and Evans ended up second and third overall, ahead of Finns Esapekka Lappi (4th, Ford/Michelin) and Kalle Rovanperä (5th, Toyota/Michelin). Nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb (Hyundai/Michelin) was sixth.

Next round: Rally Sweden (February 13-16).

2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo – final positions:

1, Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), 3h10m57.6s

2, Ogier/Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC), +12.6s

3, Evans/Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC), +14.3s

4, Lappi/Ferm (Ford Fiesta RS WRC), +3m9.0s

5, Rovanperä/Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC), +4m17.2s

6, Loeb/Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), +5m4.7s

7, Katsuta/Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC), +11m27.9s

8, Suninen/Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC), +13m30.4s

9, Camilli/Burési (Citroën C3 R5) (1st, WRC3), +13m42.2s

10, Ostberg/Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) (1st WRC2), +14m21.8s