Photo: Automobile Club de Monaco

The 2020 Rallye Automobile de Monte Carlo wrapped up this afternoon, and it all ended with a thrilling win for Belgian driver Thierry Neuville in his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

Neuville beat out Sebastien Ogier in his GR Toyota Yaris WRC by a fraction of a second in the power stage and managed to keep some distance between himself and Ogier’s Yaris to take the season opener from last year’s winner. That must have been sweet for Neuville, who lost out to Ogier last year by just a few seconds.

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This victory is Neuville’s first at Monte Carlo but his 13th career event win. He managed a very respectable 3:10:57.6 overall time, more than twelve seconds over Ogier.

Despite their success today, Neuville’s teammates at Hyundai had a bit of an anxiety-provoking race. As you might have seen, fellow Hyundai driver and 2019 WRC champion Ott Tänak careened off an embankment in a very scary-looking crash. Tänak and co-driver Martin Jarveoja walked away from their car but, for a few minutes, things looked pretty bad. 

Though fellow Hyundai teammate Sebastian Loeb managed to keep his Hyundai upright, the seven-time Monte Carlo champion was unable to make any more magic happen this year, finishing far below the podium.

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Neuville’s win in the season opener puts him in first place going into the next World Rally Championship in Sweden. Whether he’ll be able to stave off the competition as the season goes on remains to be seen, but his effort this week in Monte Carlo seems to suggest he’s got a lot of fight in him.

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.

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