Sebastien Ogier says he is extremely proud of scoring a hat-trick of World Rally Championship victories at Rallye Monte Carlo as the defending champion got his 2016 off to a flawless start.

The two-time WRC champion had been involved in an intriguing battle with Abu Dhabi WRT's Kris Meeke for the lead over the opening two days before the Northern Irishman suffered a heart-breaking end to his rally due to gearbox failure with one stage remaining on Saturday meaning he was out of the race.

As a result, Ogier was able to take victory at a canter - eventually winning by 1m 54.5s from Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala - and also turned up the wick to finish the Power Stage on top and claim the three bonus championship points.

The French driver paid respect to his rivals while also giving huge thanks to his ice spotters around the Rallye Monte Carlo course who enabled him to pick the perfect tyre choices in a faultless performance and secure a third straight win at the Monte.

"This is an iconic rally and one that all drivers dream of adding to their list of victories. Doing it for the third time in the WRC and the fourth time in our career makes us very proud," Ogier said. "What makes the Monte-Carlo so special is the unpredictability of the road conditions.

"Dry sections alternate continuously with icy ones, so choosing the tyres is a fine art. Our weather crew were a big help in this respect and they're an important part of our success, as indeed are the whole of the Volkswagen Motorsport team - flawless as usual."

"This victory is particularly sweet and it's a very special feeling to start the year this way. The championship looks like it'll be an exciting one, our opponents have shown us that we'll have to fight to keep the momentum going. Before thinking about the rest of the season though, we're going to savour this wonderful feeling."



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