World champion Sebastien Loeb leads after first day of Monte Carlo Rally
Sebastien Loeb continued where he left off last season by taking the lead at the first rally of 2013 in Monte Carlo.
Last Updated: 17/01/13 4:58pm
The Frenchman won his ninth world title last year, but will not be challenging for the championship this season and is taking part in just four events - Monte Carlo, Sweden, Argentina and France.
But he insists he wants to win all the four races he is competing in, and he made a good start in Monte Carlo, going fastest in three of the opening day's four stages.
"The goal is not the same, but the preparation for the rally is the same," Loeb, who has won six of the past seven Monte Carlo rallies, said.
"If I am able to fight for victory, I will try to do it. But if not, it's not as bad as in the past. I am here for fun and in these conditions. It will be fun."
Compatriot Sebastien Ogier claimed the day's opening stage over winding roads and in sub-zero temperatures from Le Moulinon, south-west of Valence, to Antraigues.
The win gave his Volkswagen team the perfect start to their championship campaign.
Overall times after Wednesday's four special stages:
1. S Loeb (Fra) Citroen DS3 1 hour 39 minutes 49 seconds
2. S Ogier (Fra) Volkswagen Polo-R + 1min 20.3sec
3. M Hirvonen (Fin) Citroen DS3 +1:46.7
4. D Sordo (Esp) Citroen DS3 +2:01.2
5. J-M Latvala (Fin) Volkswagen Polo-R +2:32.2
6. E Novikov (Rus) Ford Fiesta RS +2:50.6
7. B Bouffier (Fra) Citroen DS3 +2:57.1
8. J Hanninen (Fin) Ford Fiesta RS +3:03.5
9. M Ostberg (Nor) Ford Fiesta RS +4:45.1
10. M Prokop (Cze) Ford Fiesta RS +7:11.3