Conditions on the opening two stages of the Monte Carlo Rally were as tricky as always, with rain rather than ice greeting competitors on the first two stages. During the second stage, there was thick fog for 12 of the 45.17 kilometres. With a strong possibility of snow in the afternoon,
the drivers are currently debating which is the correct tyre choice for the afternoon.
Mikko Hirvonen, the rally leader, commented: "I was happy with my tyre choice. But I'm a bit surprised to be leading as I didn't know what to expect. The car is all new and I am still learning it. We actually went off a little bit on SS2 but only for half a second."
The fight for the lead is already intense, with Sebastien Ogier just 4.5 seconds behind the Finn. "You never know which tyres to choose on this rally," said Ogier - the winner last year in Monte Carlo. "You just have to do your best with the information you have. Maybe people expect a little bit more from me this time, after I won last year, but I don't feel any extra pressure."
Ogier's team mate, Stephane Sarrazin, is only 13 seconds behind Ogier and determined to try to improve on the second place he scored in Monte Carlo last year.
The drivers now face a repeat of this morning's two stages, but with temperatures dropping snow is likely. The crews then return to service at Valence, where they are due into parc ferme shortly before 20:00 this evening.