Monte Carlo WRC: Evans retakes lead from Ogier

Elfyn Evans has snatched the lead of the Monte Carlo rally from his Toyota WRC teammate Sebastien Ogier after a strong Saturday morning loop.

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Ogier had started the morning with a 1.2s lead over his teammate, and extended it by 1.6s in the opening SS9 stage, but Evans fought back in the La Breole-Slonnet loop to win the stage by 7.6s and take the lead of the rally by 4.8 seconds.

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville remains third, having won the St-Leger Les Melezes - La Batie Neuve test, but the 2019 WRC runner-up lost 14 seconds in the second stage, leaving him 11.8s behind Ogier.

Sebastien Loeb had a tricky morning, losing time to the leaders in the first two stages of the morning loop, and the nine-time champion admitted that he had “slowed down too much” after trying to save his tyres in SS10. 

His cautious approach meant he ended the stage 20 seconds off the pace and is now 1m39.6s behind rally leader Evans.

M-Sport's Esapekka Lappi ended the morning in fifth place, but was unhappy as he found there wasn’t as much ice on the road as his pacenotes had suggested, but despite that, he still extended the gap to Kalle Rovenpera in sixth to 19.5s.

The first of the WRC3 runners were next, with Eric Camilli moving up to seventh place in his Citroen C3, with Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta dropping down to eighth place.

Katsuta spun his Yaris in the middle of St Leger Les Melezes - La Batie Neuve stage, costing him just over three and a half minutes as he stopped to clear snow from his radiator before continuing to finish.

Citroen C3 driver Nicolas Ciamin is second in the WRC3 class, and ninth overall, ending the morning 19.6s ahead of WRC2 leader Mads Ostberg, who rounded out the top ten.

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