Loeb and Elena hold their position

The first loop run in the countryside around Nice had no significant impact on the standings of the 80th Rallye Monte-Carlo. Sébastien Loeb continued to hold a healthy lead at the front, while Mikko Hirvonen kept up the pressure on Petter Solberg.

Interview Sébastien Loeb

Interview Mikko Hirvonen

Day four of the rally began with a 45-minute service period in the port of Monaco. The competitors then left to take on a loop made up of two classic special stages: Moulinet – La Bollène Vésubie, including the famous Col de Turini (SS14) and Lantosque – Lucéram (SS15).

As conditions were totally dry on the stages, tyre choice was fairly straightforward: the DS3 WRCs set off with Michelin Pilot Sport hard tyres fitted.

Armed with a comfortable lead, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena took it relatively easy on these two stages. “I didn’t cut the corners, I tried to avoid the stones on the road and I stayed focussed,” explained Sébastien Loeb when he arrived back at the service park. “I saw that Daniel took the time to give a little wave to the crowds on the Col du Turini, but I still concentrated fully on the road. We’ll have to be careful during the night runs as there’ll probably be some dew on the roads.”

Mikko Hirvonen began the day with the fastest time on SS14. With the Citroën driver pushing him hard, Petter Solberg pulled clear again on the next stage, but that didn’t wipe the broad smile off the Finn’s face: “There was more dampness on second stage and Petter pushed really hard. I’m not too bothered, I’m just very pleased not to have made any mistakes. I feel so good driving the car and I’m enjoying racing on tarmac again. It augurs well for the rest of the season.”

The 30-minute service period will be followed by the second running of the stages. The cars are scheduled to arrive in Monaco from 9.32pm.