Championship leader Sebastien Ogier has described the opening day of Rallye de France as a "real disappointment".

Ogier had been hoping to secure his second successive WRC Drivers' title this weekend on home soil and needed to score six more points than his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to sow things up. However it all went wrong for the Frenchman on the second stage when he lost 4 minutes due to a faulty sensor.

His problems were then further compounded by a 4 minute penalty for checking in early to the SS3 time control and in the afternoon he broke a front left damper, leaving him 30th overall post-SS7 - 8 minutes 52.3 seconds off the lead.

"Having savoured the happiest moment of our career here at the Rally France last year [when we took the title and won], today was a real disappointment," Ogier said.

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"Julien [Ingrassia - my co-driver] and I wanted to put on a good show this weekend, particularly for the French fans. But we had a problem with a faulty sensor, on the longest special stage of all things, which cost us four minutes. And then came another four minutes on top of that when we stamped our time card incorrectly at a time check.

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"However, we are a team - we win together and lose together. We now have our sights set on winning the three points towards the World Championship on Sunday's Power Stage," he added.

Volkswagen Motorsport boss Jost Capito meanwhile said the team was "heartbroken" by what had happened.

"Sebastien suffered a bitter set-back in the race for the WRC title today. Everyone in the Volkswagen team is heartbroken that such a small sensor has prevented him and Julien from attempting to win the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' World Championship at their home race in France. Although that seems very unlikely now, I would never write those two off," he noted.