Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier took two more stage wins this afternoon as he closed in on victory on Rallye Monte Carlo, the 2014 WRC season opener.

Ogier went into the third and final day with a 51.1 second advantage, and while conditions remained treacherous - with drivers reporting lots of slush on SS12 and lots of standing water on the following test - the Frenchman was again the class of the field.

Indeed he edged out team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala by 0.3 seconds to win the first run through the 23.40 km La Bollene Vesubie test (SS12), before beating Kris Meeke by 3.5 seconds to top the pack in Sospel-Breil-sur-Roya (SS13). The defending WRC champion now heads back to service in Monaco with his cushion up to 1 minute 1.2 seconds.

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"I'm happy with it," Ogier said after SS12. "I did not take any risks on the Col, I slowed down on the snow but could not have been slower! Nonetheless, driving with studs on tarmac is fun. Sliding - it's good for the show."

"We then had a good run in SS13," he continued. "There was a lot of water on the road. We have validated the pace-notes just in case we want to try to get a few more points in the Power Stage. The next stages will be even more difficult. The night in Turini is always a big moment. I'm looking forward to it!"

M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC runner Bryan Bouffier meanwhile continues to hold second. He was third in SS12 - just 0.8 seconds off Ogier, but lost a bit more time in SS13, 9.3 seconds, and was only fifth fastest after sliding wide and clipping the left rear wheel.

"If we manage to finish like this I think it would be perfect," said Bouffier. "The Turini was really great for spectators. OK, it's maybe not as easy for us to find a good feeling in conditions like that, but I think those watching had a really good feeling!

"We made a small mistake on the last stage - I was surprised by the amount of water going into one corner, slid wide and hit something - but it wasn't a big drama. Now, we just need to stay focussed and concentrated for the final loop. It might not seem like many kilometres, but on these fast stages with challenging conditions there is still a long way to go."

Kris Meeke completes the provisional podium in his Citroen DS3 WRC, still around 45 seconds adrift of P2, with team-mate, Mads Ostberg still fourth, although he lost time with a puncture 5-6 kilometres from the end of SS12.

"The information we had was correct. I really enjoyed driving on the snow [in SS12] even if it was very tricky. We had to drive where we saw the tarmac because of all the water and mud," Meeke explained. "There was a lot of water coming down the hill [in SS13]. Even with the winter tyres, we're still aquaplaning."

Jari-Matti Latvala is next up and fifth for VW, reporting he had a 'moment' in SS13: "I was surprised by the grip in there, I expected more than we got. It was changing quite a lot. Initially slippery, then better, the downhill felt pretty okay until at the end there were a couple of very slippery places and I had a little moment on standing water or something and the car went a bit sideways and had some contact with the rear and a wall. But it is just a bit of bumper damage, I think," explained the Finn.

Behind, Mikko Hirvonen was the only mover in the top ten, gaining a position in SS13 and moving up to sixth at the expense of M-Sport team-mate, Elfyn Evans. Evans is now 2 seconds back.

"It's tricky out there," said Hirvonen. "There was a lot of loose snow and slush going up Turini. Then once we passed the Col [on SS12] there was a lot of standing water. It was the same for the next stage - with so much running water the car was aquaplaning even on snow tyres. OK, it's not quite as bad as last year, but it's still difficult.

"It's so fast, and if you move off the line even slightly, it's not nice. I'm not sure of the others, but I'm certainly not a massive fan of these conditions!"

"It's been difficult and I was definitely too cautious," Evans added. "Perhaps not on the snow because everyone else had slowed down, but certainly up until then I could have pushed a lot harder. Let's wait and see what happens this afternoon.

"We've still got the goal of finishing the rally very much in mind and we don't want to make a mistake at this late stage. There's still two hard stages to go and I think we need to keep that attitude for the remainder of the rally."

Of the rest, Andreas Mikkelsen, Jaroslav Melicharek and Matteo Gamba hold positions 8 through to 10, with WRC2 class leader, Yuriy Protasov eleventh - and more than 8 minutes up on Lorenzo Bertelli, who is now his nearest class rival, despite losing rear wheel drive. Robert Barrable has dropped back to third in WRC2 after his windscreen misted up in SS13 and he struggled for visibility.

The event now concludes tonight with a repeat run through La Bollene Vesubie (23.40km) and Sospel-Breil-sur-Roya (16.55km). SS14 is due to start at 20.12 hours local time, with SS15 getting underway at 21.05 hours local time.

Rallye Monte Carlo: Overall standings after Stage 13 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 3h 44m 32.7s M
2. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport Ltd Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 01.2s
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +01m 49.6s M
4. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +03m 33.0s M
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +06m 08.5s M
6. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 30.7s M
7. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 32.7s M
8. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +11m 22.8s M
9. Jaroslav Melicharek Slovakia WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +18m 30.4s
10. Matteo Gamba Peugeot 207 S2000 +22m 34.7s


11. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta R5 +23m 48.6s WRC2
12. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T +27m 54.4s
13. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta R5 +32m 22.1s WRC2
14. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta R5 +33m 02.3s WRC2
15. Eamonn Boland Subaru Impreza STi R4 +35m 50.0s

WRC2 standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):

1. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta R5 4h 08m 21.3s WRC2
2. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta R5 +08m 33.5s WRC2
3. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta R5 +09m 13.7s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 13:

1. Quentin Gilbert Citroen DS3 5h 05m 30.6s WRC3

Notable retirements:

SS1. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Went off the road M
SS1. Francois Delecour Ford Fiesta RS WRC Retired
SS1. Julien Maurin Ford Fiesta RRC Retired WRC2
SS2. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical M
SS5. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Mechanical M

SS9. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off the road M
SS11. Armin Kremer Ford Fiesta R5 Went off the road WRC2

M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial