WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Loeb just leads from Ogier as Kubica flies

Sebastien Loeb's lead over Sebastien Ogier shrank to just three seconds after a tense morning of Monte Carlo Rally stages, while a delayed Robert Kubica was the pacesetter

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Loeb just leads from Ogier as Kubica flies

With Ogier third on the road (behind the Rally2 cars) and Loeb 14th under the new-for-2015 running order system, the two arch-rivals encountered very different stage conditions.

At first it was Citroen driver Loeb who benefited, and the returning World Rally Championship legend increased his lead from 13s to 28s with the fastest time on the morning's opener.

But then the roads swung back in Ogier's favour. With the early fog clearing and ice patches melting, the main factor became the level of mud dragged onto the stages by the early runners.

Loeb lost 4s to Ogier on SS4, then a full 21s on SS5, bringing his lead down to exactly three seconds heading for the lunchtime service.

Kubica was fastest of all on both SS4 and SS5, but it counts for little other than confidence as his major electrical problems on Thursday night left his RK Ford outside the overall top 60 at the start of the day, 10 minutes behind the leaders and running under Rally2.

Jari-Matti Latvala struggled to find a rhythm in SS3's ice and fog, allowing M-Sport's flying young drivers Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans to move into third and fourth places.

As Latvala's confidence returned, so did his pace, and by the end of SS5 he was firmly established in third again, 24s clear of Tanak.

Evans is now fifth, just 0.4s ahead of Kris Meeke and with Andreas Mikkelsen right behind them in the third VW.

Mads Ostberg is eighth but only 12.7s away from fifth place in this close pack, while the Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo are falling away in the final points-scoring positions.

AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live's as-it-happens Monte Carlo Rally coverage resumes from 1.30pm UK time for SS6-SS8.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS5:

-

shares
comments
Loeb's back - and he can win the Monte

Previous article

Loeb's back - and he can win the Monte

Next article

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Ogier takes lead as Loeb damages car

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Ogier takes lead as Loeb damages car
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021