Epic Rally Monte Carlo, Daytona 24 Grid Drama & Karts Start SA Season
In Auto’s first Toyota Gazoo Racing Week of 2022, a week after finishing second at the Dakar, Sebastien Loeb held on to claim an epic Rally Monte Carlo victory over Sebastien Ogier and Benjamin Viellas on Sunday. The final stage showdown between the World Rally Championship’s greatest drivers came after they had duelled throughout in an icy three-day battle on the first rally of the WRC’s new hybrid era. Ford’s Craig Breen completed the podium in a rally of attrition.
Loeb, driving with navigatrix Isabelle Galmiche, led on their first day out in the new Ford PumaFriday. Ogier took the lead on Saturday in his Gazoo Toyota Yaris. But he had a puncture on the penultimate stage on Sunday. That set up an incredible a final power stage shootout. 47-year old Loeb ultimately held his countryman and namesake off for an historic victory. Loeb and Ford’s first win since 2018 is also his 80th WRC victory and his 8th at Monaco win to see him draw level with Ogier. Galmiche is the first lady navigator to win in the WRC in 25 years.
Dramatic Daytona Pole Dice
The only other major action was across the pond. A 100 minute qualifying race set the grid for the coming weekend’s IMSA Daytona 24 Hour. Former South African driver’s champion Wayne Taylor Racing’s Acura will start in pole position. Son Ricky, driving with Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens, held Richard Westbrook’s Cadillac off for victory after a final lap clash. South African GT runners, Jordan Pepper’s McLaren will start 35th. Sheldon van der Linde’s BMW 46th.
A well supported Rotax Max Zwartkops club race gave a hint to how Rotax Max karting will look in ‘22. Jamie Smith beat Kian Grottis and Niko Zafiris in DD2. Roshaan Goodman, Karabo Malemela and Moosa Kajee shared the Senior wins. Jayden Goosen dominated Junior Max over Nicolaos Vostanis and Ricardo Tebutt. As did Kegan Martin in Mini over Aadam Kajee and Caleb Odendaal. Rafael da Silva, Taylin Patel and Matthew Shuttleworth each won a Micro heat. And Brodi Dowling beat Noah Cronje and Diego Antunes in Bambino.