GV: Rankings: Latvala counts cost of crash

Autosport

Jari-Matti Latvala tumbled down the Castrol EDGE Rankings after rolling out from the lead of the WRC's Monte Carlo opener.

An inspired tyre choice on stage two had allowed Latvala to jump into a 30s lead over Sebastien Loeb, only for his run to come to a crashing end later in day one - causing a drop of three places to 20th.

Loeb compounded Latvala's misery as he went on to take a crushing sixth Monte Carlo victory - the perfect start to his bid for a record ninth WRC crown.

The Frenchman was not just under pressure from Latvala: he headed into Monte Carlo with his position as the world's top-ranked rally driver under increasing threat due to a spate of retirements at the end of 2011.

Victory therefore delivered not only the perfect start to his 2012 campaign, but strengthened his position in the Rankings – Loeb gaining two places to move to seventh as his nearest rivals faltered.

Sebastien Ogier, Loeb's old stable-mate at Citroen, was one such casualty. He starred on the opening day, running as high as fourth in his S2000 Skoda Fabia, only for his giant-killing run to end with a high speed crash on day two. He fell one place to 13th as a result.

Mikko Hirvonen, Loeb's new team-mate at Citroen, also dropped down the Rankings, falling three spots to 16th.

Hirvonen was in contention for a podium finish, but paid the price in the Rankings for his victory in last year's Rally Sweden opener – the round dropped under the rollover system.

Moving in the opposite direction to Ogier, Hirvonen and Latvala were Ford new boy Petter Solberg, Mini's Dani Sordo and Evgeny Novikov.

In finishing third Solberg secured a rise of six spots to 60th, while Sordo – who followed Loeb home in second – rose 73 spots to 133rd.

Both were eclipsed by Novikov however, as he took his second-string M-Sport Ford to fifth – soaring 132 places to 318th as a result.

To see the full Rankings, visit www.castroldriverrankings.com.

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