Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier increases lead, Mikkelsen retires

Sebastien Ogier stretched his Monte Carlo Rally lead as second place changed hands repeatedly on the first daylight stages of the 2018 WRC opener.

Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier increases lead, Mikkelsen retires

Ogier had only 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 teammate 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, causing problems that became worse through the morning and dropping him from seventh to 10th.

His teammate 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.

Standings after SS5:

Pos.DriverCarTime/Gap
1  Sebastien Ogier Ford 1h21m56.3s
2  Ott Tanak Toyota 40.4s
3  Dani Sordo Hyundai 47.5s
4  Esapekka Lappi Toyota 1m04.6s
5  Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota 1m17.3s
6  Kris Meeke Citroen 2m45.1s
7  Bryan Bouffier Ford 2m58.8s
8  Elfyn Evans Ford 4m24.4s
9  Thierry Neuville Hyundai 4m50.3s
10  Craig Breen Citroen 5m08.4s
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Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier leads after chaotic early stages

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