WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Kubica stars as Latvala closes on Ogier

Sebastien Ogier was happy to let his ample Monte Carlo Rally lead dwindle on an icy Saturday morning, while Robert Kubica comfortably outpaced everyone

The day's opening Prunieres - Embrun stage was cancelled due to excessive spectator numbers in the final miles, so the following Lardier et Valencia - Faye stage was the only one run on the loop.

At 32 miles, it was also the longest of the rally, and featured several unpredictable patches of ice and snow amid mostly dry asphalt.

Kubica, who began the day only 28th overall after various delays on Thursday and Friday, chose super-soft Pirellis for his RK Ford and set an incredible pace on the stage.

He was 33.4 seconds faster than second-quickest Kris Meeke, and 1m49.5s faster than rally leader Ogier's Volkswagen.

Ogier admitted that he was extremely cautious on all the icy sections, and although he lost 40s to nearest rival Jari-Matti Latvala, he was quite content to still have a 1m04.9s lead heading to service.

Latvala was stunned by how slowly his VW team-mate had driven, having expected to lose time after a spin early on the stage.

The Finn remains 44.5s clear of third-placed man Andreas Mikkelsen.

VW's one-two-three formation is now even more secure after fourth-placed Ott Tanak crashed his M-Sport Ford on SS10.

That elevated a close fight between Mads Ostberg and Elfyn Evans to fourth and fifth overall, with the Hyundais of Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville now sixth and seventh.

Sordo passed his team-mate, who was more cautious on the stage, despite going off briefly when he caught the slower car of Martin Prokop.

Sebastien Loeb was third fastest on the stage and is now within 10s of getting back into the overall top 10 having returned under Rally 2 rules.

AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live's as-it-happens Monte Carlo Rally coverage resumes from 12.30pm UK time on Saturday.

Leading positions after SS10:


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