WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Ogier holds lead, Citroens star on Saturday

Sebastien Ogier will take a lead of 43 seconds into the final day of the Monte Carlo Rally after the Citroens of Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke were quickest on Saturday afternoon

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Ogier holds lead, Citroens star on Saturday

Ogier had his advantage cut by more than 20s by Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala across the two stages, while the third Polo WRC of Andreas Mikkelsen remains a comfortable third.

Double World Rally champion Ogier took a deliberately conservative strategy on SS11 and SS12, dropping only a couple of seconds to Latvala on the short Prunieres - Embrun route before losing exactly 20s on the long and challenging Sisterton - Thoard run.

A short stretch of ice in the final quarter of that stage cost Ogier most of his time to Latvala, who seemed shocked to have reduced his team-mate's lead as much as he did as both opted for careful approaches to one of the championship's most famous stages.

Their conservatism opened the door for others to shine, particularly Citroen's Meeke and Robert Kubica.

Despite spinning and costing himself what he estimated to be 12 seconds Meeke bagged victory on SS12, outpacing Kubica by 8.5s. That stage win also elevated Meeke, whose rally was severely compromised by an off on day one, back into the points in 10th, one place behind SS11 winner Loeb.

Behind the three Volkswagens at the front, an entertaining fight for fourth remains. Mads Ostberg took control of that battle on SS11 as Elfyn Evans brushed a wall and damaged his M-Sport Ford's suspension and the Hyundais of Dani Sordo struggled.

However, engine problems for Ostberg's Citroen DS 3 coupled with Neuville and Sordo setting the third and fifth best times respectively mean 38 seconds covers all three heading into the final day.

Evans remains seventh after repairing his Fiesta on SS11 and limping through the final stage, while Martin Prokop is eighth but now just 45 seconds clear on nine-time world champion Loeb.

AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live's as-it-happens Monte Carlo Rally coverage resumes from 8am UK time on Sunday.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS12:

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WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Kubica stars as Latvala closes on Ogier
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WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Sebastien Ogier wins in all-VW top three

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