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Sebastien Ogier stretched his Monte Carlo Rally lead as second place changed hands repeatedly on the first daylight stages of the 2018 World Rally Championship opener.
Ogier had been 17 seconds clear of Andreas Mikkelsen’s Hyundai following Thursday’s night stages, but his advantage immediately grew when Mikkelsen overshot a junction on Friday’s first stage and dropped to third behind Dani Sordo.
Mikkelsen’s day soon got worse when he ran into alternator problems on the following road section and had to park.
Efforts to fix the glitch on site failed and Hyundai retired Mikkelsen’s car.
Sordo then came under increasing pressure from Ott Tanak, who had immediately taken fourth from Toyota team-mate Esapekka Lappi with a stage win on the day’s opener.
Tanak grabbed second from Sordo on the final stage before service, but is 40.4s behind Ogier – who had a smooth run on the so far ice-free stages and was quickest on SS4.
Lappi was frustrated by the amount of dirt being brought onto the road by cars higher up the start order and fell away from the podium fight in fourth ahead of the third Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala.
Craig Breen damaged his Citroen’s brakes in an impact with a rock on the first stage of the day, causing problems that became worse through the morning and dropping him from seventh to 10th.
His team-mate Kris Meeke has progressed past Bryan Bouffier to sixth after his Thursday night ditch visit.
Thierry Neuville’s efforts to recover from his SS1 error were hampered by a rear puncture on Friday’s first stage.
But things have been smoother for him since and he is now back to ninth overall, just behind SS5 pacesetter Elfyn Evans – another man on a comeback run after Thursday dramas.
|1||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||1h21m56.3s|
|2||Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||40.4s|
|3||Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||47.5s|
|4||Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1m04.6s|
|5||Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1m17.3s|
|6||Kris Meeke, P.Nagle||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||2m45.1s|
|7||Bryan Bouffier, X.Panseri||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||2m58.8s|
|8||Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||4m24.4s|
|9||Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||4m50.3s|
|10||Craig Breen, S.Martin||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||5m08.4s|