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Thierry Neuville led a Hyundai 1-2 in Wednesday evening's shakedown as the new FIA World Rally Championship season blasted into life at Rallye Monte Carlo The Belgian edged team-mate Dani Sordo by 0.1sec in the 3.35km Gap test, as less than a second covered the top five crews over twisty roads a handful of kilometres outside the town in the French Alps. Bright sunshine and remarkably mild temperatures, which climbed into the teens, ensured the stage was clear of snow and ice and both Hyundai i20 drivers posted their best time in their first pass through the test.
“The set-up felt good. We’ve found a good setting and had a good pre-event test. The car is pretty similar to last year so it should be more or less the same feeling,” said Neuville.
“I’m confident. Everybody is excited about the new season and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be a big challenge but it’s going to be good.”
Kris Meeke Monte Carlo Rally

Kris Meeke was the quickest Citroen at the pre-event shakedown for the Monte Carlo Rally.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s new signing, Ott Tänak, was half a second adrift of Neuville in third with Kris Meeke fourth in a Citroën C3, a further 0.2sec back. Andreas Mikkelsen was next up in another i20 and Jari-Matti Latvala completed the top six.
“I struggled to complain about the car, or the set-up, this evening so I think that’s a good sign,” said Yaris debutant Tänak. “I’m sure we still have a lot to learn, to see where the limit is but for the minute it feels great to drive.”
“I’m quite happy now that we have done the shakedown: it allowed me to get a feeling for the car and for the driving," team-mate Latvala added. "This is the most important thing and now I feel ready to kick-off the season. In the first two runs I wasn’t completely happy with the turn-in, but then we changed the front differential in service and afterwards the car was turning easier and that gave me more confidence. "It’s going to be a difficult start tomorrow with Sisteron: it has good grip in most places but there is an icy downhill stretch where you have to be cautious.”
Elfyn Evans Monte Carlo

Elfyn Evans was half a second slower than team-mate Ogier in his Fiesta WRC.

Citroen's Kris Meeke was also happy.
"The shakedown was generally dry at the start, although there were a few muddy corners. The level of grip then gradually dropped off as more cars came through the stage, but we nonetheless used the session to review the various tyres one final time and try out one or two things," he said.
"I'm pleased with this final test, the times weren't especially representative, but the feeling is always a good indicator, and it was good this evening. " Ahead of shakedown there were major dramas for M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Bryan Bouffier. The Frenchman crashed during the recce this morning and co-driver Jérôme Degout aggravated a neck injury which ruled him out of the rally. Xavier Panseri, just back home after finishing sixth alongside Khalid Al Qassimi in the Dakar Rally at the weekend, was rushed to Gap and will deputise in the Fiesta. Read our full Monte Carlo Rally preview HERE. Top 10 Shakedown times: 1. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2’00’’2 2. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2’00’’3 3. Tänak / Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2’00’’7 4. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) 2’00’’9 5. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2’01’’0 6. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2’01’’5 7. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2’01’’6 8. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2’02’’1 9. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) 2’02’’9 10. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2’02’’9

Watch Monte Carlo Rally shakedown videos below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXvVfBCmA2Q&feature=youtu.be&r= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnyfeUJ4W90
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