Sebastien Ogier leads the 2018 World Rally Championship season opener Rallye Monte-Carlo by 17.3 seconds from Andreas Mikkelsen in a tough opening two stages under darkness with almost every driver hitting trouble.

Despite his useful early lead Ogier spun off on the opening SS1 Sisteron stage but was still able to clinch the stage win before backing it up with victory on SS2 Bayons – Breziers 1. As a result, the M-Sport Ford driver leads the overall classification from Hyundai’s Mikkelsen with team-mate Dani Sordo jumping ahead of Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi for third place at the end of the second stage.

Tanak has also closed the gap to the front-runners on his Toyota debut in fifth ahead of team-mate Jari Matti-Latvala with Craig Breen slipping to seventh for Citroen after running off on both stages. Bryan Bouffier holds an impressive eighth place in his M-Sport Ford ahead of Kris Meeke in ninth after picking up a puncture in his Citroen on the opening stage.

The biggest losers from the opening two stages have been M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville in 15th and 16th respectively who have both lost over four minutes on leader Ogier after having separate issues on the icy stages.

M-Sport Ford’s Eric Camilli leads the WRC2 class by 16 seconds from Jan Kopecky in the Skoda with 10th place in the overall classificaiton.