Sebastien Ogier says the key to his fifth consecutive victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo came from minimising mistakes compared to his rivals as he enjoyed the ideal start to his World Rally Championship title defence.

The M-Sport Ford driver secured his Rallye Monte-Carlo triumph by almost a full minute from former team-mate Ott Tanak having avoided any serious issues, despite sliding off the road at SS7 and required a push back from spectators, but admits he never felt comfortable going through each stage.

Ogier lead the entire Rallye Monte-Carlo in the general classification but only claimed four stage wins from a total of 17 which pointed to the French driver’s supreme consistency which fuelled his victory charge.

“We always face tough conditions at Rallye Monte-Carlo but this year they were really extreme,” Ogier said. “I don’t think I’ve ever struggled so much with the tyre choices, so to have come out on top is fantastic.

“I think everyone made mistakes this weekend – myself included – but it was almost impossible to have the perfect drive. Luckily we only had some small mistakes and once we had a good gap it was just a case of trying to manage it – but that is never easy in these conditions either.

“It’s the best way to start the season and I need to congratulate the team because everyone has worked really hard and I know that they will also be super happy with this result. The competition is going to be stronger than ever and we’ve made a strong start which is really important.”