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2015-01-24 05:44

ROCK SHOCK FOR LOEB: French former World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb and his Citroen DS3 at the start of the 2015 Monte Carlo rally on Jan 22 in Monaco. Day 2 saw him sidelined by a rock. Image: AP / Lionel Cironneau

GAP, France - Sebastien Loeb saw his hopes of an eighth Monte Carlo rally title dented on Friday when his Citroen’s rear suspension broke during a collision with a rock on the icy surface.

Nine-times World Rally champion Loeb, who had led overnight as well as at the midway stage on Friday, was understood to have lost around six minutes through the error on the day's final run.

That allowed defending  champion Sebastien Ogier (VW) to overturn a 41sec deficit and take the overnight lead with two days left of the 83rd edition of the famed rally.


He now has a 1min45.4 advantage over team mate Jari-Matti Latvala with another VW driven by Andreas Mikkelsen third.

Loeb said later: "We were aggressive, we had to be. I hit a small rock, it wasn't a very strong impact, but the wheel broke."

The former champion attempted makeshift repairs at the roadside but the patched-up Citroen was forced to limp home.

Ogier took full advantage by taking the honours on Stage 8 for his first win of the event.

"This day is going to be very special for me," Ogier said. “The race will be very different for us. There is a long way to go and we will face more difficult moments.

"We must show intelligence and stay concentrated in the tricky conditions."


Loeb is racing in the World Rally championship for the first time in 15 months and his run for Citroen in Monte Carlo will be his only scheduled appearance of the 2015 season.

The 40-year-old triumphed in the wintry conditions of the principality seven times between 2003 and 2013.

Friday was a black day all round for Citroen as Loeb's Irish team mate Kris Meeke saw his hopes of a podium finish also ended by a damaged suspension.

Polish former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica, who had picked up a 10-minute penalty on Thursday, crashed his Ford Fiesta and lost another three minutes lost in the time charts.

Result from Day 2 of the 2015 Monte Carlo Rally

1 Sebastien Ogier (France) VW 1hr52min07.4
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) VW +1min45.4
3 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) VW +2min34.8
4 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +2min44.4
5 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Citroen +3min02.9
6 Elfyn Evans (Britain) Ford +3min15.2
7 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai +3min29.9
8 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai +4min03.0
9 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +4min59.6
10 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen +6min08.7

Late finish: Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (FRA-MON/Citroen DS3), broken left suspension on Stage 8..

Stage winners: Loeb 3 (1,3,6), Ogier 2 (2,8), Kubica 3 (4,5,7)


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