Sebastien Loeb headed the leaderboard as the cars arrived back in Monaco on this opening round of the 2003 FIA World Rally Championship.
The second leg of the rally didn't get underway until SS8, following the organiser's decision to cancel the seventh stage due to the high number of spectators present.
When the day's rallying did start, Loeb reduced Marcus Gronholm's lead to 12.8 seconds. Loeb admitted he'd taken risks and pushed hard through the 25km Saint Antonin-Tourette du Chateau test. Gronholm had felt ill-at ease running slick racing tyres on the damp and occasionally icy surface.
Gronholm hit a wall six kilometres into the following stage breaking a steering link on his Peugeot. The Finn's demise left Loeb to head a Citroen one-two-three back into the principality. Colin McRae holds second place just over one minute behind Loeb, but 37.1 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz. Markko Martin is fourth, despite feeling unwell.
The rally was disrupted by a road traffic accident on the A8 this afternoon. The road was blocked and 21 crews were re-routed back to Monaco where they were put into parc ferme.
Peugeot's Gilles Panizzi retired on the second stage this morning, feeling unwell. The two remaining 206 WRCs driven by Gronholm and Richard Burns ran without problems.
Gronholm started the day at the head of the field, but lost time to Sebastien Loeb on stage eight. The Finn then lost control of his 206 WRC on an icy stretch of the following test and hit a wall with the right-front wheel. He continued to drive for 12km, but was forced to stop. He radioed the team and explained what had happened. Gronholm then fitted a new steering link to the car and was able to carry on. He lost 33 minutes repairing the car, but was able to set a competitive time through the day's final stage. He has dropped to 15th position.
Burns took a wrong tyre choice for the final two stages of the day, running a compound of Michelin slick tyre that was too hard for the damp roads. Burns dropped almost two minutes through the first stage, but not so much on SS10 which was drier. Burns lies fifth.
''When I stopped after I'd hit the wall, I thought I'd retired, so I was taking my time fixing the car,'' noted Gronholm. ''When it was done Jean-Pierre Nicolas came on the radio and asked if I could carry on. If I'd known I would have changed the part faster. It is very disappointing, I feel the same way as before I started this rally: I don't like it very much.''