World Champion Sebastien Ogier has edged a step closer to victory on this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo after a near-perfect day two performance.
The VW driver, who was fighting back after a forgettable opening day, passed Bryan Bouffier for the lead on this morning’s third stage. The Frenchman made his rival’s job easier by sliding off the road and landing in a field.
Ogier drew on his championship-winning experience to control the rest of the day and ended with a 51s advantage. “Today was much better than yesterday,” he said. “Tomorrow will be difficult with some snow expected on the Col de Turini. But for now I can be happy.”
Kris Meeke put in another assured performance in his Citroen DS3 WRC to retain third place. His main threat at the start of the day came from ex-f1 star Robert Kubica. However, his rally came to an abrupt end 32km into SS9.
“There was a sudden change of grip,” the Pole explained. “We needed to be cautious because we had it marked by our ice crew, but unfortunately I misjudged how big that change would be. We went into the corner, the front went straight on and we hit a bridge.”
That took the pressure off Meeke and he carved out a 1m 10s lead over his team-mate Mads Ostberg at the final control.
Jari-Matti Latvala edged past impressive M-Sport World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans to claim fifth place on the final stage, while Mikko Hirvonen’s frustrating rally continued in seventh.
VW’s Andreas Mikkelsen completed the top eight in his Polo R WRC. His progress was hindered when he slid off the road on SS10 and dropped more than four minutes.