Ogier Still Retains Monte Carlo Lead

The reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier will carry a lead of just half a minute into the final day of the 2018 Monte Carlo Rally, after his earlier substantive advantage was halved by Toyota's Ott Tanak, who continued to apply the pressure, having fallen back on the day's opening stage.

Ogier had soft tyres fitted to his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC for the day's final stage while his rivals went with supersoft Michelins and he seemed unhappy with the choice when he said he was "a bit on the limit" and lost six seconds to Tanak, who had chipped away at Ogier's lead ever since slicing more than a minute on Saturday's first stage, reducing the gap from 1m18.4s at that point to 33.5s.

Tanak has four stages left tomorrow to try to overhaul his 2017 WRC team-mate, but the Toyota driver may choose to play safe and accept second place given he has almost a minute over Jari-Matti Latvala, the second Toyota in a lonely third after the final Yaris driver, Esapekka Lappi, lost several minutes with a puncture, dropping him to fifth, behind Citroen's Kris Meeke, but he recovered well and ended the day quickest of the three Toyotas and enough to get him back into fourth.

Meeke's Saturday ended with an unspectacular final stage, and Citroen will need to find more performance if he is to overturn the 1.6s deficit to Lappi and steal fourth on Sunday. Elfyn Evans just about makes it a three-car fight for fourth spot after easing his way back into contention with a strong Saturday performance that ended with the second-quickest time, behind Thierry Neuville, the Hyundai driver now up to seventh as he overhauled the third M-Sport Fiesta WRC of Bryan Bouffier.

Ninth-placed Craig Breen spent most of the day as a rally "snow plough" but the clear final stage meant his position at the head of the field was favourable at last, and he capitalised to set the third-fastest time and Jan Kopecky remains 10th and comfortably in control of the WRC2 class.

Leading positions after SS13

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT 3h30m30.9s
2 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 33.5s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 1m32.7s
4 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 4m38.5s
5 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT C4m40.1s
6 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT 5m00.2s
7 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 5m33.6s
8 Bryan Bouffier, X.Panseri M-Sport Ford WRT 5m43.4s
9 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 8m49.0s
10 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport II 14m04.4s

27th January, 2018