Double French rally champion Julien Maurin got his WRC2 programme underway at the Rallye Monte-Carlo this weekend but despite his promising pace it would be an early end after being caught out by ice.
Maurin and co-driver Nicolas Klinger kicked the rally off in a cautious manner on SS1 but soon picked up the pace for the second test when they set the second fastest time of the WRC2 cars.
Friday would see the pair push their Ford Fiesta RRC on the challenging stages, this included a class win on the fourth, fifth and seventh stages. With everything looking good there would soon be disappointment, SS8 saw a blocked damper caused by the mud on the stage and as a result Maurin lost over a minute.
The opening stage for Saturday was cancelled due to safety concerns so it was all out attack for the mammoth SS10 stage. The split times were looking good, with Maurin leading the way, that was until the last few kilometers of the stage when the Fiesta slid on ice on a tight turn in to a ditch. While the damage was minimum the car was stuck and by the time it had been recovered it wa too late to reach the service park in time, the rally would be over for the pair.
“It’s obviously a big disappointment,” said Maurin. “We were the best performers of WRC2 at this stage of the rally, even though we had decided to be cautious and not to take maximum risks. This shows how we were competitive.
“Our strategy was good, tyre choices were good and the team did a great job. It’s infuriating to have to give up as well, especially as we made up a lot of time in this stage.
“Beyond disappointment for the final result, it deprives us of the big points in the standings WRC2; we have already played our joker. We will have to score in the next round. The potential is clearly there for us to capitalize on the performance achieved here.”
The next event for WRC2 will be held in Portugal from May 21 to 24