Rallye Monte-Carlo Day One


At the end of the opening day of competition on Rallye Monte-Carlo, round one of the FIA World Rally Championship, reigning World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb heads the leaderboard. Spaniard Dani Sordo is second with Petter Solberg in the final provisional podium position.
One of the world’s most historic rallies started last night in Valence, but it was today when the action kicked off in earnest. The route covered two stages, both run twice, but the 134.70 competitive kilometres proved tricky for the crews with tyre choice proving to be a decisive factor. As always on Rallye Monte-Carlo, road conditions change from stage to stage, with dry Tarmac, ice and snow all playing a part in the tyre gamble.
Sébastien Loeb took the early lead but a bold tyre choice by Ford catapulted Jari-Matti Latvala into the lead of this famous rally after only the second stage. The Finn maintained a 60-second advantage through stage three but in the final stage of the day he went off the road - pre-occupied by the icy surface rather than the road ahead - and rolled into retirement. Sébastien Loeb therefore re-took the lead and has more than a minute in hand heading into day two.
Sordo, second in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC, went off the road twice this morning but the Spaniard was lucky to escape without major problems. He and Solberg are neck and neck and the pair go into day two of this five-day rally separated by just one second. Sébastien Ogier, now driving a Super 2000 car with Volkswagen as it prepares to enter the WRC in 2013, has set a stunning pace and is fourth overnight. Russian Evgeny Novikov is however within striking distance, just 5.4 seconds adrift, with Mikko Hirvonen sixth in his first outing for Citroën. Rallye Monte-Carlo legend François Delecour is back in a factory-specification World Rally Car for the first time in 10 years and the Frenchman holds seventh in a Fiesta RS WRC.
The second day of competition on Thursday takes in two loops of three stages totalling 131.76 kilometres.
Rallye Monte-Carlo – Unofficial Results after Day 1

1.   Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena
2.   Dani Sordo/Carlos Del Barrio
3.   Petter Solberg/Chris Patterson
4.   Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia
5.   Evgeny Novikov/Denis Giraudet
6.   Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen
7.   François Delecour/D Savignoni
8.   Pierre Campana/Sabrina de Castelli
9.   Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk
10. Per-G Andersson/Emil Axelsson
Citroën DS3 WRC
MINI Cooper Works WRC
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Skoda Fabia S2000
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Citroën DS3 WRC
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
MINI Cooper Works WRC
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Proton Satria S2000
1 hr 30 min 30.1sec
1 hr 31 min 34.3sec
1 hr 31 min 35.3sec
1 hr 32 min 51.2sec
1 hr 32 min 56.6sec
1 hr 33 min 00.1sec
1 hr 33 min 20.0sec
1 hr 34 min 39.8sec
1 hr 34 min 44.1sec
1 hr 35 min 03.9sec