Bouffier leads 2014 Monte Carlo Rally

Monte Carlo rally specialist Bryan Bouffier continues to lead the 2014 rally, with Kris Meeke, Robert Kubica and Sebastien Ogier snapping at his heels at the end of leg one. Volkswagen Polo driver and current world rally champion Sebastian Ogier started the day cautiously but then won two of Thursday afternoon's three stages as his choices of tyres anticipated better conditions than his rivals, who all seemed to expect more snow.
Ultimately, heavy rain worked to Ogier's advantage, although stage conditions were still very slushy. There was little to choose between the chasing pack throughout the afternoon; M-Sport Ford drivers Bouffier and Kubica, and Citroen man Meeke. Kubica jumped Meeke for second shortly after service, while Dani Sordo retired from this fight when his Hyundai refused to restart before SS5. He had got the new i20 up to third on its debut.
Kubica could not make any inroads on Bouffier's lead and lost second to Meeke again on the final stage. The pair will now start Friday 0.7 seconds apart but 39 seconds behind Bouffier, with the flying Ogier just eight seconds behind them. Mads Ostberg is fifth in the second Citroen, having pulled clear of Kubica's team-mate Elfyn Evans, who remains sixth on his Monte debut. Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen have made their way up to seventh and eighth after struggling for pace and confidence during the morning. Latvala had languished as far back as 18th early on, but clawed-back 40 seconds of his three-minute deficit.

Leading positions after SS6:

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport Ford 1h25m36.6s
2. Kris Meeke Citroen +38.8s
3. Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +39.5s
4. Sebastien Ogier VW +47.3s
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen +1m20.7s
6. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +1m38.6s
7. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +2m20.8s
8. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +2m46.9s
9. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +4m06.2s
10. Olivier Burri Burri Ford +4m47.4s (WRC2 spec car)

16th January, 2014