Reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier started the defence of his title in the way he hopes to continue after pacing the shakedown for the season-opening Rally Monte Carlo.

The Frenchman, at the wheel of his now familiar VW Polo R, completed the 3.52km Chateauvieux stage in a time of 2min 15.3secs, more than a second clear of any of his rivals.

Citroen, despite fielding an all-new pairing in 2014, proved to be the closest opposition to Ogier and VW, with recruits Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg posting identical 2min 16.5secs times to share second spot on the timesheets. Fourth-placed Jari-Matti Latvala was 1.7secs behind the Citroens, and nearly three shy of VW team-mate Ogier, while Robert Kubica posted the best Ford time in fifth spot, at 2min 18.3secs.

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WRC returnees Hyundai took an honourable sixth in the hands of team leader Thierry Neuville, the pairing making its first competitive outing after a well-documented build-up. Neuville ended the day ahead of some experienced names, with Ford's Mikko Hirvonen and Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo in his wake, while the third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen and the Fiesta of Bryan Bouffier rounding out the top ten.

Shakedown - top 10 times:

1. Sebastian Ogier VW Polo R WRC 2m 15.3s
2. Kris Meeke Citroen DS3 WRC 2m 16.5s
= Mads Ostberg Citroen DS3 WRC 2m 16.5s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala VW Polo R WRC 2m 18.2s
5. Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 18.3s
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai i20 WRC 2m 18.4s
7. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 18.8s
8. Dani Sordo Hyundai i20 WRC 2m 20.4s
= Andreas Mikkelsen VW Polo R WRC 2m 20.4s
10. Bryan Bouffier Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 21.9s

all times unofficial