Meeke Out, Ogier Leads Peugeot’s Monte Challenge

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Frenchman Sebastien Ogier continued his recovery on the Monte Carlo Rally, bouncing back from the delays of day one to win three of the six stages on day two.

The defending Monte winner is now the lead Peugeot as the pack chase down the Ford Fiesta of Mikko Hirvonen.

The Finn now leads by 47.7 seconds on his, and the car's, IRC bow from the Skoda of his countryman Juho Hanninen who inherited second place thanks to the retirement of Kris Meeke.

The reigning champion crashed less than a minute into the day's opening stage, the Ulsterman being caught out by a patch of ice as he slowed for a right hander before a bridge. With a single expletive the Peugeot UK backed car slid straight on, the front left catching the wall of the bridge and spinning the car into a ditch.

“I’m still kicking myself,” lamented Meeke. “I didn’t get any farther than the first patch of ice which was on a small bridge, barely two kilometres after the start of today’s opening stage. I was aware of the spot, but it seemed to me to be less slippery than I had been expecting.”

On the following stage, dominated by very snowy road conditions there were more problems for Stephane Sarrazin. In the closing metres of the stage he slid too wide on a corner and beached his car on a snow bank.

Luckily being close to the finish there were enough fans to call on to push the 207 back on the road, though he lost over two minutes to stage winner Ogier.

The Peugeot's were not alone in their problems. Jan Kopecky suffered another puncture on stage seven, the Czech making it to the end of the stage on the rim on his right-front wheel and without the wing of the car, ripped off by the remnants of the tyre.

However, the most spectacular incident went to Finn Toni Gardimiester who spun on stage nine in a cloud of snow after clipping a snow bank, ripping off the front bumper.

Overall standings after day two (ten stages)
1. Hirvonen/Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta S2000), 3h 12m 44s
2. Hanninen/Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) +47.7s
3. Ogier/Ingrassia (Peugeot 207 S2000) +1m 10.3s
4. Vouilloz/Veillas (Skoda Fabia S2000) +1m 34.3s
5. Sarrazin/Renucci (Peugeot 207 S2000) +6m 6s
6. Wittman/Wicha (Peugeot 207 S2000) +6m 53.8s
7. Wilks/Pugh (Skoda Fabia S2000) +7m 07.3s
8. Magalhaes/Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000) +7m 12.8s

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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