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IRC: Ogier inherits lead.

BFGoodrich Drivers' Team man Sebastien Ogier leads the Rallye Monte Carlo at the end of the second leg, having moved up into top spot in his Kronos-run Peugeot 207 S2000 in the final stage of the day.

Ogier, who is making his debut in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this week, began Thursday's proceedings in fourth, but he benefitted this morning when Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Vouilloz and then Kris Meeke all hit trouble.

The Frenchman thus went into the mid-day service 'best of the rest' - over a minute behind long term rally leader, Juho Hanninen and around 12 seconds up on fellow Kronos runner, Freddy Loix in third.

In the afternoon Ogier continued to push on and was second quickest in SS7 and fifth in SS8, as he defended his runners-up spot. That then began first, when Hanninen suffered a front left puncture in SS9 and lost over 2 minutes.

Ogier will now go into the third and final leg on Friday with a 32.4 second cushion over Loix.

"It's been another good day but the biggest difficulty we consistently had was predicting how much grip was available," said Ogier. "Everything is constantly changing and it's impossible to have the information to cover every single possibility.

"We have already seen that this rally is completely unpredictable, and while I am obviously happy to be in the lead, there is no guarantee that this situation will last. I'm very aware of my own inexperience, both with the car and this event."

"I've got some experience of the Monte Carlo Rally from the past but actually it doesn't help me so much as every Monte Carlo is really different," added Loix. "This one is no exception.

"It's not been such a bad day for us but the conditions have been very tricky indeed and it's been hard to make the correct tyre choices. Tomorrow we have the Turini stages at night, which are sure to be a very big challenge, so the surprises are by no means over yet. We've got a good chance so we will push if the conditions suit us."

Hanninen meanwhile, despite winning three of the day's six stages in his Skoda Fabia S2000, now finds himself down in third - 54.8 seconds off the lead and 22.4 seconds off P2. He is also only fractionally in front of Britain's Kris Meeke, and only 4.4 seconds split the two going into service D tonight at Valence.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia - BF Goodrich Peugeot 207 S2000. Rallye Monte Carlo January 20-24 2009 [Pic credit: IRC].
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) Maciek Szczepaniak (POL) Peugeot 208 T16
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) Maciek Szczepaniak (POL) Peugeot 208 T16
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) Maciek Szczepaniak (POL) Peugeot 208 T16
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Harry Bates (AUS) John McCarthy (AUS) Toyota Corolla S2000
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) Maciek Szczepaniak (POL) Peugeot 208 T16
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) Maciek Szczepaniak (POL) Peugeot 208 T16
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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