Hanninen stays on top in Monte Carlo

Juho Hanninen continues to lead the Monte Carlo Rally after six stages, with Petter Solberg now up to second place

Hanninen stays on top in Monte Carlo

Freddy Loix had ended day one as fellow Skoda driver Hanninen's nearest rival - albeit 47 seconds adrift.

But while pushing hard to try and fend off the closing Solberg on the Vassieux to Col de Gaudissart stage, Loix went off the road briefly and lost second to the former World Rally champion.

"I had a small off, not in a dangerous place, but I lost at least five to six seconds," said Loix, who is now 10.7s behind Solberg and only 1.8s ahead of Stephane Sarrazin. "At the moment it's not good enough to beat what Petter is doing, I have to control it a little bit."

Despite Solberg having picked up his pace, Hanninen's lead now stands at 51.6s after he took another stage win on SS5.

"I was a little bit too careful on the last one, the grip was very good," Hanninen said at the end of SS6. "No extra pushing. It's not so easy when the gap is this big - it's a little bit difficult to keep the rhythm."

Bryan Bouffier was quickest of all on SS6. The Peugeot driver remains only seventh, but is in an extremely close battle for fifth place - with just 0.6s covering Jan Kopecky (Skoda), Guy Wilks (Peugeot UK) and Bouffier.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 1h36m19.6s 2. Petter Solberg Peugeot + 51.5s 3. Freddy Loix Skoda + 1m02.1s 4. Stephane Sarrazin Peugeot + 1m04.0s 5. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 1m37.0s 6. Guy Wilks Peugeot + 1m37.4s 7. Bryan Bouffier Peugeot + 1m37.6s 8. Francois Delecour Peugeot + 2m15.1s 9. Jean-Sebastien Vigion Peugeot + 4m09.4s 10. Julien Maurin Ford + 4m54.8s 
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