WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Sebastien Ogier pulls away amid tyre gambles

Sebastien Ogier cemented his lead over Kris Meeke on the two-stage loop that started Saturday's leg of the Monte Carlo Rally

WRC Monte Carlo Rally: Sebastien Ogier pulls away amid tyre gambles

The World Rally champion was quickest on the mammoth 32-mile opening test in his Volkswagen, before taking 10 seconds out of Meeke on the tricky SS10 to increase his gap to 30.2s overall ahead of a taxing afternoon loop.

Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala holds third, but the real story of the morning was played out by fellow VW man Andreas Mikkelsen.

The Norwegian took four winter tyres, gambling that he could makeup anytime lost on the relatively dry SS9 on SS10, which was icy and snowy.

Mikkelsen lost his fourth place to Thierry Neuville on the first stage of the morning, but on the second test he went fastest of all by an enormous 43.9s to retake fourth.

Neuville hangs on to fifth, a minute and a half ahead of M-Sport's Mads Ostberg, who had an uneventful morning, albeit some way off the pace.

Dani Sordo struggled most through the morning; he was set for a top five finish on the first stage before hitting a bank, which caused a puncture and dropped him from seventh to 10th overall.

The WRC2 battle took an interesting twist, as Elfyn Evans slotted his Ford Fiesta R5 into seventh overall fastest on the second stage of the morning.

A number of R5 cars troubled the top 10 times on the stage, including Jose Antonio Suarez who pipped Evans at the last second to take sixth quickest.

Evans needed the quick time to retake the WRC2 lead from Armin Kremer, as the Welshman had a puncture on the opening stage of the day, just as he had on Thursday.

Autosport Race Centre Live's as-it-happens Monte Carlo Rally coverage resumes at 11am UK time

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS10:

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