Loeb maintains Rallye Monte Carlo advantage

Sebastien Loeb remains in control on Rallye Monte Carlo and returns to service with a 1 minute 17.9 second lead over Sebastien Ogier; Dani Sordo and Evgeny Novikov have moved up to third and fourth, with Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala dropping to fifth and sixth...

Sebastien Loeb continues to lead Rallye Monte Carlo by over a minute following Thursday morning's opening loop of three stages.

Loeb started the second day with a commanding 1 minute 20.3 second advantage in his Citroen DS3 WRC car, and despite having to run first on the road, something that particularly hindered him in SS6, the Frenchman pretty much maintained that cushion and he now heads back to service with the gap trimmed by just 2.4 seconds.

Sebastien Ogier meanwhile continues to hold second, and while he was quicker than his fellow countryman in SS5 and SS7, giving Volkswagen another stage win in the first test of the day, a spin in SS6 cost him precious seconds.

Behind, Dani Sordo has re-taken third position, with Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen struggling and dropping down to fifth.

Evgeny Novikov shined for the Qatar M-Sport WRT and having been second quickest in SS5, was fastest in both SS6 and SS7, as he made the most of his new studded tyres to move up to P4 overall.

Further back, Jari-Matti Latvala picked up a puncture in Labatie d'Andaure-Lalouvesc 1 when he clipped a roadside pole. However the Finn was back on it in SS6, when he was fourth, and he ended the loop with the fifth best time in SS7.

Juho Hanninen and Bryan Bouffier hold positions seven and eight, ahead of Mads Ostberg and Martin Prokop. Ostberg would have been higher up the leaderboard had he not picked up a 1 minute 50 second penalty last night when he was late into the overnight service due to an electrical problem on the road section.

In WRC2, Sepp Weigand remains in P1, over 3.5 minutes up on Armin Kremer, while in WRC3, where only two cars are entered, Sebastien Chardonnet has moved to the fore and ahead of Renaud Poutot.

The action now continues this afternoon with a repeat-run through this morning's three tests.

SS8, Labatie d'Andaure-Lalouvesc 2, is due to start at 14.50 hours local time [13.50 hours British time].

Rallye Monte Carlo: Overall standings after Stage 7 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2h 29m 49.4s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +1m 17.9s M
3. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +2m 18.0s T
4. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 35.6s M
5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2m 29.7s M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +2m 54.8s M
7. Juho Hanninen Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 20.5s T
8. Bryan Bouffier Citroen DS3 WRC +4m 17.0s
9. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 35.4s M
10. Martin Prokop Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +10m 04.2s


11. Julien Marin Ford Fiesta RS WRC +10m 41.4s
12. Sepp Weigand Skoda Fabia S2000 +13m 54.7s WRC2
13. Olivier Burri Peugeot 207 S2000 +15m 25.4s P
14. Armin Kremer Subaru Impreza +17m 41.7 WRC2
16. Michal Kosciousko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +19m 27.3s T

WRC2 standings after Stage 7 (Top 3):

1. Sepp Weigand Skoda Fabia S2000 2h 43m 44.1s WRC2
2. Armin Kremer Subaru Impreza +3m 47.0s WRC2
3. Yuriy Protasov Subaru Impreza +5m 35.0s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 7:

1. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T 2h 53m 26.5s WRC3
2. Renaud Poutot Citroen DS3 R3T +0m 40.2s WRC3

Notable retirements:

SS4. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off T

all times unofficial

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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gaazz! - Unregistered

January 17, 2013 12:54 PM

Well, this looks like the curse of Loeb will be hanging over the WRC for some time. Any victory without him competing will lack some shine and a victory with him around looks pretty unlikely again.

BMFBW - Unregistered

January 17, 2013 11:55 AM

Why am I not surprised to see the legend that is loeb dominating? Also, why am I not surprised to see Ogier running 2nd? VW have come into this EXTREMELY well prepared, and remember Ogier's drive in Monte Carlo last year in the Fabia (before he shunted, big time...)! Novikov in 4th? Very well done to him! :)

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