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
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."
TEAM MATE IN TROUBLE, TOO
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 1hr52min07.4Stage winners: Loeb 3 (1,3,6), Ogier 2 (2,8), Kubica 3 (4,5,7)
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..