Sebastien Loeb has become the most successful driver in Monte Carlo Rally history by clinching a record fifth win on the event.
The result is the perfect start to Loeb's bid for a fifth consecutive World Rally Championship title.
The Frenchman led from the second stage of the rally on Thursday evening - overcoming an early charge from his Citroen teammate Dani Sordo and then pulling away.
When Sordo retired from second with engine problems on Saturday, Loeb was left with an enormous margin over second-placed Mikko Hirvonen (Ford), ultimately winning by two minutes and 34 seconds.
"For sure it's a great weekend for us to win here again," Loeb said. "It's a big, big victory.
"We had a very good lead, we were faster than everybody on the whole rally. But last year it was the same and the rest of the season was a lot more complicated."
Hirvonen was disappointed with his form in the Thursday evening stages and settled for a points-gathering second once it became clear that Loeb was unstoppable. Well aware of Loeb's Monte Carlo reputation, Hirvonen was content to begin his year as Ford's number one with a runner-up finish.
"Of course when you start the season you hope you can fight for the win," Hirvonen said. "But we saw quite early in the rally that the Citroens were going to be really fast so this is definitely a fantastic result for me."
The main excitement in the rally was Chris Atkinson and Francois Duval's weekend-long contest for what became third place. Subaru driver Atkinson was ahead throughout, but Duval - returning to the series for what could be a one-off appearance with Stobart Ford - closed inexorably and was just 1.1 seconds behind going into the rally-ending Monte Carlo street stage.
The duo then set absolutely identical times in the superspecial, allowing Atkinson to clinch the second podium finish of his WRC career, and Subaru's first since Greece last year.
"It's cool, amazing," said Atkinson. "It's been a few years and it's good to be back on the podium. My first tarmac podium, too.
"I hoped for a top five coming into the rally, and I expected guys like Francois and Gigi (Galli) to do well. Duval had me on my toes, and it was tough."
Atkinson's teammate Petter Solberg completed a promising season-opener for Subaru by taking fifth place.
Returnee Gigi Galli improved his pace throughout his debut event for Stobart Ford and fended off a mid-rally challenge from French privateer Jean-Marie Cuoq to take sixth position.
The final point went to Junior champion PG Andersson on his first appearance in the new Suzuki SX4 WRC. Although both Andersson and teammate Toni Gardemeister had mechanical problems with their cars at times during the weekend, a trouble-free Saturday allowed Andersson to show the SX4's full potential with a charge from outside the top ten to eighth, where he would remain.
Gardemeister had briefly held eighth earlier in the rally and looked set to at least recover to ninth before an overheating engine forced him out late on Saturday.
Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson completed the top ten, with Sordo and works Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala using the superally system to take 11th and 12th.
Latvala had a difficult debut for the factory Ford squad - clipping a wall and puncturing a tyre in the very first stage. He lost four minutes in that incident, then dropped more time with hydraulics problems before damaging his suspension and having to retire from day three.
Works-assisted Citroen driver Conrad Rautenbach had an even more troubled start to his season. The Junior series graduate crashed in both the first and last stages of the rally - spinning into the barriers at the final corner of the Monaco street course while heading for 21st place.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Loeb Citroen 3h39:17.0 2. Hirvonen Ford + 2:34.4 3. Atkinson Subaru + 2:58.6 4. Duval Ford + 2:59.7 5. P Solberg Subaru + 4:40.9 6. Galli Ford + 8:46.5 7. Cuoq Peugeot + 10:24.8 8. Andersson Suzuki + 11:19.5 9. H Solberg Ford + 12:43.6 10. Wilson Ford + 14:00.1