24 Jan 08
Citroen’s Dani Sordo lived up to his asphalt-ace reputation by winning the opening stage of Rallye Monte Carlo, finishing 3.8seconds than his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb who was second.
Sordo’s quickest run wasn’t without incident, however, as the Spaniard’s Citroen C4 lost two of its light pods when they struck a hay bale.
Ford’s lead driver Mikko Hirvonen set the third fastest time, but said he had driven too cautiously. After 28km he trails the rally leader by more than 16 seconds.
In a temperature of 2║ Celsius, the combination of ice and unfamiliar Pirelli tyres caused problems for many drivers. Petter Solberg and Matthew Wilson both lost time with spins, while a mistake from Jari-Matti Latvala sent his car into a rock, puncturing one of his tyres. Latvala’s wheel change was slowed by a flat nut-gun battery, and the Finn dropped more than four minutes to the leaders.
Both Suzuki drivers reported problems too. Toni Gardemeister’s SX4 had no turbo anti-lag, while P-G Andersson’s had a broken right-rear driveshaft.