Ogier Holds small Monte lead on Day 2

Sebastien Ogier held a slender lead over Thierry Neuville on Saturday afternoon's loop of Monte Carlo Rally stages, ceding only one second across two stages to the Hyundai driver after he had taken a pair of softer compound tyres in comparison to Neuville but the effect was negligible, as he dropped 1.2s during Agnieres en Devoluy-Corps then gained 0.2s back one stage later.

Toyota driver Ott Tanak was the star of Saturday, guiding his Toyota Yaris to wins across the day's four stages, having lost time on Friday when he was forced to stop and change a puncture, Tanak went for a risky tyre strategy on Saturday afternoon, selecting four non-studded winter tyres while the rest of the field had taken studded tyres more suited to icy conditions.

Tanak's gamble was a masterstroke, taking almost 20s out of podium rivals Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala across two stages - most of which was recouped on the first, icier test. New Hyundai signing Loeb retook third place from Latvala on the afternoon's first stage and finished the day with 2.3s in hand over the lead Toyota. But Tanak is now firmly in podium contention, 17.3s off Loeb and 15s off team-mate Latvala.

Kris Meeke was consistently second fastest in the last of the three Toyotas in the classification, holding a lonely sixth while most often being the closest to Tanak's stage-winning pace while M-Sport pair Teemu Suninen and Pontus Tidemand are still well outside the top 10 but both will still score manufacturers' points for their team.

WRC2 Pro leader Gus Greensmith is the best-placed M-Sport driver in seventh, although he is ineligible to score manufacturer points in a R5-specification car and thus is not considered a WRC entrant but was then being caught by French asphalt ace Yoann Bonato but a puncture for the Citroen C3 R5 pilot cost him more than a minute.

Former Minardi Formula 1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours veteran Stephane Sarrazin is in ninth place and Gregoire De Mevius in 10th.
Leading positions after SS12
Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier/J.Ingrassia Citroen Total WRT 2h38m30.0s
2 Thierry Neuville/N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 4.3s
3 Sebastien Loeb/D.Elena Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m58.7s
4 Jari-Matti Latvala/M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 2m01.0s
5 Ott Tanak/M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 2m16.0s
6 Kris Meeke/S.Marshall Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 5m26.8s
7 Gus Greensmith/E.Edmondson M-Sport Ford WRT 10m12.0s
8 Yoann Bonato/B.Boulloud Citroen Total 11m43.4s
9 Stephane Sarrazin/J-J.Renucci Hyundai 12m16.0s
10 Guillaume de Mevius/M.Wydaeghe Citroen 13m07.0s

26th January, 2019