Juho Hanninen has taken the early lead on Rallye Monte Carlo following the opening day.

Hanninen grabbed P1 in the second test this morning, having been edged out by Stephane Sarrazin in SS1. However he was more than 30 seconds quicker than the Frenchman in the 41.06 km run through Burzet-St. Martial and the Finn thus went into the mid-day halt with a 35.6 second advantage.

This afternoon he continued to push, stretching his lead further in SS3, when he was again quickest. Second best in SS4 ensured he ended the day comfortably out front, 44.5 seconds up on fellow Skoda Fabia S2000 man Freddy Loix.

"We have a very good feeling with the car," said the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion after SS3. "We have a good set-up and made a good choice of tyres [for this afternoon]."

Petter Solberg meanwhile finished the day third on his 'guest' outing in a Peugeot 207 S2000. 'Hollywood' began cautiously and was sixth in SS1. However he upped the pace in SS2, SS3 and SS4, setting one second and two third fastest times. He now lies 10.8 seconds adrift of 'silver'.

Early leader Sarrazin is fourth, just 0.2 seconds off P3, while Britain's Guy Wilks completes the top five on his debut event with Peugeot UK.

Further down the order, Jan Kopecky is sixth, 7.6 seconds off Wilks, followed by Bryan Bouffier, Francois Delecour, Jean-Sebastien Vigion and Julien Maurin in positions 8 through to 10.

Former F1 driver Alex Caffi ended up 14th, one spot behind Toni Gardemeister, who had tyre problems in SS3 and lost over 3 minutes.

There were a number of retirements today, with M-Sport Stobart man Henning Solberg amongst the biggest scalps in his Fiesta S2000, along with Skoda UK's Andreas Mikkelsen and Proton Motorsport duo Chris Atkinson and Per-Gunnar Andersson.

The action now continues on Thursday with around 94 competitive kilometres on the bill - and two different stages, both repeated.

SS5, the 23.05 kiloemtre-run through St. Jean en Royans-Font d'Urle, begins at 12.23 hours local time.

Rallye Monte Carlo: Overall standings after Stage 4 (Top 10):

1. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 1hour 11mins 33.4secs
2. Freddy Loix Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 44.5secs
3. Petter Solberg Peugeot 207 S2000 +00mins 55.3secs
4. Stephanie Sarrazin Peugeot 207 S2000 +00mins 55.5secs
5. Guy Wilks Peugeot 207 S2000 +01mins 18.7secs
6. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia S2000 +01mins 26.3secs
7. Bryan Bouffier Peugeot 207 S2000 +01mins 36.2secs
8. Francois Delecour Peugeot 207 S2000 +01mins 52.4secs
9. Jean-Sebastien Vigion Peugeot 207 S2000 +03mins 11.3secs
10. Julien Maurin Ford Fiesta S2000 +03mins 53.2secs


11. Luca Betti Peugeot 207 S2000 +04mins 54.3secs
12. Nicolas Vouilloz Skoda Fabia S2000 +05mins 07.9secs
13. Toni Gardemeister Peugeot 207 S2000 +05mins 42.0secs
14. Alex Caffi Skoda Fabia S2000 +06mins 29.2secs
15. Giandomenico Basso Peugeot 207 S2000 +06mins 47.0secs

Notable retirements:

SS1. Chris Atkinson Proton Satria Neo S2000 Mechanical
SS1. Thierry Neuville Peugeot 207 S2000 Accident
SS2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda Fabia S2000 Suspension
SS2. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta S2000 Suspension
SS2. P-G Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 Suspension
SS2. Andreas Aigner Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Fire

all times unofficial