Sebastien Ogier has stretched out his Rallye Monte-Carlo lead to over one minute on Ott Tanak while Jari-Mattti Latvala has jumped up to third place after Dani Sordo’s crash on SS9.

The M-Sport Ford and defending World Rally champion described Saturday’s opening two stages at the iconic rally as “the worst of my career” as he battled through changing road conditions of snow, slush and ice. Despite Ogier’s concerns he finished in the top four on both stages to extend his overall lead to 1m 03.4s after Tanak’s struggled on SS9 Agnieres-en-Devoluy – Corps 1.

Tanak has battled back to reduce the arrears with a third stage win of the 2018 WRC season opener on SS10 but now faces a significant time difference to bridge if he’s to take victory on his Toyota debut.

Sordo, who had spent the majorty of Rallye Monte-Carlo in third, has crashed out the of the event on the treacherous SS9 to drop out of contention. Coupled with Latvala’s steady progress this morning the Finnish Toyota driver has moved up to third, 37.7s off of team-mate Tanak, with Esapekka Lappi completing a provisional Toyota 2-3-4.

Over two minutes behind Lappi, Kris Meeke heads up the Citroen charge in fifth place with over 30 seconds on Bryan Bouffier (M-Sport Ford) in sixth place. The French driver is being reeled in by both M-Sport Ford team-mate Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) as the pair continue to recover from their disastrous start to Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Craig Breen remains a distant ninth place for Citroen with WRC2 leader Jan Kopecky completing the top ten contenders for Skoda.