Ogier back in Monte Carlo lead as rivals crash out

Ogier back in Monte Carlo lead as rivals crash out
French driver Sebastien Ogier takes a departure of the 90th WRC Monte-Carlo Rally, in Monaco on January 20, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
Monte Carlo — Sebastien Ogier avoided any mishaps to edge back in front of Sebastien Loeb at the Monte Carlo Rally on Saturday with black ice making driving conditions hazardous.اضافة اعلان

Fans who braved the freezing weather in the hills behind Monte Carlo saw Welshman Elfyn Evans fly round a corner wide and then slip backwards down an embankment in his Toyota Yaris in the morning's most dramatic moment.

There was no damage to Evans' car but try as he might he couldn't get the traction to remount the hill and pulled out for the day.

Loeb led by almost 10 seconds overnight Friday but regretted his mixed tyre strategy as he slipped to 5.4sec adrift of Ogier with 11 of the special stages completed.

"It's not easy to drive with two studs and two slicks. It's difficult to keep the car straight. I tried to push, but Ogier was much faster," Loeb said.

Ogier drew level with Loeb on the tenth special and then drew ahead of the 11th.

Reigning champion Ogier lives in the region and knows the course well.

"It's never easy to go through this stage. It's just about surviving," he said ahead of Saturday's second session.

"Unfortunately Elfyn is out on the corner — it's a shame for the team."

Oliver Solberg also dropped down a bank and took a full 35 minutes to get back up.

Ott Tanak picked up a slow puncture and Thierry Neuville spun his Hyundai with both men dropping out of contention.

Craig Breen of M-Sport Ford is third at 1min 07sec.

There are three more specials on Saturday afternoon with a concluding session of four on Sunday.

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