Sebastien Loeb says it was his own fault he hit a rock in the final stage on Friday ending his bid to win Rallye Monte Carlo for an eighth time.

Loeb had been leading by 13.3 seconds after Thursday's opening two tests last night and initially this morning he extended his advantage over Sebastien Ogier to 28.3 seconds. However he haemorrhaged time in SS5, the first run through the 25.40 km Les Costes-St Julien test, returning to service just 3 seconds ahead.

It was similar story on the repeat loop, with Loeb initially gaining in SS6, before a spin in SS7 cost him the lead.

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Worse was to come though, and in SS8, Les Costes-St Julien 2, he damaged the left-rear suspension, and while he did manage to limp through, he had to retire on the road section. Loeb will now re-start on Saturday under Rally 2, albeit down in 15th position, 10 minutes off Ogier and around 3.5 minutes off a place in the top-ten.

"We had to give it a go! Given the conditions we had [running 14th in the order], we had to push in order not to lose too much time," explained the nine-time WRC champion. "I braked a little too early on an icy patch [in SS8]. The car slid wide and I hit a rock, which broke the suspension. We had to drive quickly, because the situation and the changing road conditions weren't particularly ideal for us and then I did a mistake."

"The roads were becoming incredibly dirty and we had to stay in touch. But we weren't pushing too hard. It is not like we were taking any massive risks when we went off," he added.

Citroen boss Yves Matton meanwhile was disappointed to see their chances of victory end, but took comfort from the fact Loeb has proven the DS 3 WRC is still very capable of challenging at the sharp end.

"Sebastien slid and hit a concrete block on the final stage. The impact broke part of the suspension. He will be able to rejoin tomorrow under Rally 2 rules. It was a gamble of sorts to enter him at Monte-Carlo and I have to say he surprised us again with his performances," Matton noted.

"Seb and Citroen Racing have been daring in terms of this challenge, but also in the race. With a less than ideal road position, he had to make some bold decisions so that he could continue to defend his chances of winning.

"It was a good fight and it just goes to show that our 2015 DS 3 WRC is a well-designed car. It is a very positive point for our technical team!

"He will be able to showcase his immense talents tomorrow."