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Loeb leads the Monte


Winners of the opening stage of the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena reached Gap with a thirteen second lead at the top of the overall standings. All three of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s DS 3 WRCs ended the short first day in the top 10. After leaving Monaco at 6.30pm, the Rallye Monte-Carlo competitors set course for Gap, completing the opening two stages of the 83rd edition of the rally on their way.

Starting in fourteenth position, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were quickest on the very first stage of the season. The Franco-Monegasque duo finished 22 seconds ahead of Ott Tanak and beat Sébastien Ogier by some 30.9 seconds, after completing just 21.31 kilometres. On roads featuring a mix of ice and snow, with wet and dry sections, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg also finished in the top 5 in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s two other DS 3 WRCs.

In the second test, between Norante and Digne-les-Bains, the conditions were different. As more mud and gravel were dragged onto the racing line by cars completing the stage ahead of him, Sébastien Loeb secured the third fastest time, whilst Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg lost a bit more ground.

At the end of this short opening leg, Sébastien Loeb arrived in Gap in the overall lead, ahead of Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. Kris Meeke ended the day in sixth position, ten seconds or so ahead of Mads Østberg.

In the WRC 2 category, Stéphane Lefebvre took the early lead in a DS 3 R5. In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert ended the day ahead of Terry Folb and Simone Tempestini in their DS 3 R3-MAXs.

Tomorrow’s leg features six timed stages, contested over a total of 134.10 kilometres. Parc Ferme opens at 8.10am, with service periods in Gap at 12.37pm and 5.14pm. The running order remains the same as today, but the crews allowed to rejoin under Rally 2 rules going ahead of the other P1 drivers.

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