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Crews braced for difficult stage conditions
Ice and snow coated roads will add to the challenge on the second day of Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo. To counter this threat, the bulk of the crews have left the service park in Valence using full studded tyres. However, Kris Meeke, the reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge
champion, has opted for a half-stud option in the belief the snow and ice will be less severe than forecast.

Marc van Dalen, who runs Meeke's Peugeot UK 207 Super 2000, explained: "The choice is less safe than full studs but you have to make a different decision sometimes on this rally. There will be eight cars in front of Kris to clean the road and we believe the temperatures will rise."

Rally leader Mikko Hirvonen, driving an M-Sport Fiesta S2000 in competition for the first time and making his IRC debut, has opted for full studs. With patches of black ice peppering the first 19 kilometres of the day's opening 25.30-kilometre Labatie D'Andaure to St Pierre Sur Doux stage, and with snow coating the road on the second stage of the day, Hirvonen is confident he has made the right choice. However, the third stage of the day is expected to be clear of ice and snow and Meeke could capitalise with his less conservative tyre choice.

"The conditions look a lot more mixed today so tyre choice is going to be very important," said Hirvonen. "I have a good lead but I could lose this with one mistake with the tyres."

Forty-six crews have left Valence for today’s six stages, which total 145.78 kilometres.

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