It was as if nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb had never been away as he topped the times in the shakedown ahead of the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Drivers tackled the 3.52km Chateauvieux stage featuring the unpredictable Alpine roads and Loeb took no time to settle in, showing that even after 15 months away from the WRC he was still the master, finishing 0.4 seconds ahead of team-mate Kris Meeke and 1.1 seconds faster than defending champion Sébastien Ogier on his first of five runs.
“It’s not a bad way to come back to WRC!” Loeb told WRC.com. “I immediately felt comfortable in the car but this won’t be an easy rally. The weather forecast looks tricky and so my low position in the road order could be an advantage or a disadvantage”
Meeke took advantage of five passes like his team-mate, ending the shakedown second fastest while Ogier completed the minimum three runs to end the session third.
Andreas Mikkelsen showed good pace to finish fourth place, just a tenth of a second behind Volkswagen team-mate Ogier.
Robert Kubica took fifth fastest with his Ford Fiesta RS ahead of Elfyn Evans.
Top 10 times from 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo shakedown
|1.||Sébastien Loeb||2min 21.0sec|
|2.||Kris Meeke||+ 0.4sec|
|3.||Sébastien Ogier||+ 1.1sec|
|4.||Andreas Mikkelsen||+ 1.2sec|
|5.||Robert Kubica||+ 1.3sec|
|6.||Elfyn Evans||+ 1.4sec|
|7.||Mads Østberg||+ 1.8sec|
|8.||Sebastien Chardonnet||+ 3.7sec|
|9=||Thierry Neuville||+ 3.9sec|
|9=||Dani Sordo||+ 3.9sec|