Ogier moves into Monte Carlo Rally lead

Despite languishing in ninth place, some 1m20s off the lead three stages into the event following a poor tyre choice in Thursday morning's changeable conditions, reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier goes into the final day of the 2014 Monte Carlo Rally with a 51-second lead after a commanding performance on Friday. His recovery charge had got him up to fourth by the end of leg one, becoming second halfway through the day, but closing the 35s gap to leader Bryan Bouffier still looked difficult, however, an unfortunate spin for Bouffier's M-Sport Ford on SS9 handed first place to the Volkswagen of Ogier on a plate.
Ogier's advantage then ballooned on the final stage of leg two, where Bouffier had to drive with pace notes borrowed from fellow Frenchman Francois Delecour, having managed to miss part of the rally route during his own recce. With Robert Kubica crashing out on Friday afternoon, Citroen is holding secure third and fourth places with team debutant Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg.
Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala raised his pace throughout Friday and was up to fifth place by the end of the day, having been as low as 19th on leg one. The M-Sport pairing of fast learning Welshman Elfyn Evans and Mikko Hirvonen were among those outpaced by Latvala during leg two, despite the VW driver picking up a puncture on SS9. VW's third driver Andreas Mikkelsen was poised to move into the top six when he lost four minutes with a mistake, leaving him back in eighth position.
The rally concludes with four more stages on Saturday afternoon and evening, ending around 10pm local time.
Leading positions after SS11:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier VW 3h14m51.3s
2. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport Ford +51.1s
3. Kris Meeke Citroen +1m38.6s
4. Mads Ostberg Citroen +2m48.9s
5. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +6m04.4s
6. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +6m14.5s
7. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +6m43.7s
8. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +10m16.9s
9. Jaroslav Melicharek Slovakia Ford +16m00.8s
10. Matteo Gamba Balbosca Peugeot +20m01.4s* (S2000 car)

17th January, 2014