You silly french sod...Showing proper respect for his mountain biking roots, Nico Vouilloz brought the mighty roar of Monte Carlo Rally traffic to a grinding halt here today.
Monday morning saw an early start for stage six of the Monte Carlo rally. Lantosque - Col de Braus, at 34.40km is the longest stage on the rally and Nico was hoping his form of the previous day, where he finished an excellent tenth overall after 5 stages, would continue. It wasn't to be.
The Rally uses the same principal as downhill racing, so Nico set off in his B-Team Peugeot 206 (a mildly detuned version of last year's WRC 206) before the faster drivers. He was setting a fast pace until, half way around stage 6, he crashed out on a corner and the car ending up in the middle of the stage.
Unable to move the 206, and with other drivers charging up behind him at roughly one minute intervals, Nico caused chaos.
Some of the top drivers were posting times many minutes behind those of the slower drivers that had gone before Nico. One of the few drivers to successfully negotiate Nico's car without losing serious time was fellow Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm. With times so affected by the crash, the organisers decided that all the works cars will be given the time set by Ford privateer Antony Warmbold - the last man to successfully complete the stage before the blockage.
Vouilloz said before the start of the rally - "My aim is to be at the finish - that's the only pressure - but that's difficult enough at Monte Carlo. Peugeot want me to cover as many kilometres as possible this year."
We're sure they do Nico, but in what direction?
Nico's next rally is Sweden, starting on the 6th of Feb. You can follow his progress at www.wrc.com or www.nicolasvouilloz.com
Pic: From two wheels to four, Nico in his 206.