19 Jan 2012

Leob leads after first day of the Monte Carlo Rally

8:48 am on 19 January 2012

Ford rally driver Jari-Matti Latvala has rolled out of the WRC season-opening Monte Carlo rally while Citroen's eight times world champion Sebastien Loeb made sure of the overnight lead after the first leg.

Latvala, now his team's main man after the departure of Mikko Hirvonen to Citroen, had led five times Monte winner Loeb by 30 seconds before the day's final fourth stage but the Finn was forced to retire after his accident.

Loeb ended up with the fastest time in three of the four stages, despite a poor tyre choice early in the day.

Spain's Dani Sordo was second in a Mini, one minute 4.2 seconds adrift of Loeb, with Norway's Petter Solberg third for Ford and a further second behind.