FIA Day 2 Monte Carlo review: Ogier takes control as Loeb hits problems

Sebastien Ogier powers into the lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo as Citroen's nine-time World Rally Champion drops out of contention

Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier has taken control of the Rallye Monte-Carlo field late this afternoon after Sébastien Loeb hit problems in the final two stages, dropping him from first to 10th after the final stage. The French Polo R WRC driver now heads both his team-mates, although second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala is nearly two minutes adrift and Andreas Mikkelsen is just under a minute further back.Friday’s route took in two identical loops of three stages covering 134.10 competitive kilometres and a typical mix of treacherous Rallye Monte-Carlo conditions greeted the crews. After claiming the lead last night, Loeb was immediately on the pace this morning, winning the opening stage. He again won the same repeated stage this afternoon, but in the penultimate test lost time with a spin and then in the final stage clipped a wall and damaged the suspension after gambling on his tyre choice. This dropped him six minutes and while he finished 10th after the stage, he dropped further down the order unable to reach the service park. Ogier, who was never off Loeb’s pace throughout the day, therefore climbed into the lead. The VW driver won one of today’s stages, largely uncomfortable with his tyre choices, but nevertheless holds a comfortable one minute 45.4 second advantage over Latvala. The Finn finished third last night but struggled to find the rhythm this morning which resulted in him dropping two places to the M-Sport drivers in the first stage alone. He climbed back to third and then into second following Loeb’s time loss and holds a useful advantage over Mikkelsen. M-Sport’s Fiesta RS WRC drivers Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans have had a great day and hold fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching Mads Østberg. Tanak has been happy with his day but Evans has had a spin and been frustrated by his tyre choices; all three drivers are however in a close battle. Thierry Neuville continues to pilot the lead Hyundai i20 WRC and like everyone has not always found himself on the optimum tyre for the ever-changing conditions. His team-mate Dani Sordo is 30 seconds adrift in eighth with Martin Prokop ahead of 10th placed Henning Solberg. After his problems yesterday, Robert Kubica has had a mixed day, winning three stages, but with a 10 minute time penalty from last night the Pole is languishing down in 28th position having also gone off and picked up a puncture this afternoon. Citroën suffered double disappointment late this afternoon when Kris Meeke dropped out of fourth position in the final stage with similar problems to team-mate Loeb. The Northern Irish driver failed to finish the last stage.Rallye Monte-Carlo – Unofficial Results after Section 31. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia-Volkswagen Polo R WRC-1hr 52min 07.4sec

2. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila-Volkswagen Polo R WRC-1hr 53min 52.8sec

3. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene-Volkswagen Polo R WRC-1hr 54min 42.2sec

4. Ott Tanak/Raigo Molder-Ford Fiesta RS WRC-1hr 54min 51.8sec

5. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson-DS 3 WRC-1hr 55min 10.3sec

6. Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt-Ford Fiesta RS WRC-1hr 55min 22.6sec

7. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul-Hyundai i20 WRC-1hr 55min 37.3sec

8. Dani Sordo/Marc Marti-Hyundai i20 WRC-1hr 56min 10.4sec

9. Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek-Ford Fiesta RS WRC-1hr 57min 07.0sec

10. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor-Ford Fiesta RS WRC-1hr 58min 46.3sec

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