The Citroen team started well this morning. On La Salle en Beaumont – Corps (SS3 and SS6) Sébastien Loeb was simply unbeatable, quickest on both runs on the stage.
However, the next two tests suffered from mud being dragged on to the road by the front runners which left the surface too slippery for Loeb, who was fourteenth in the running order. And although he managed to hold off his rivals in the morning, he hit a rock on SS8 and was unable to finish the leg.
Despite becoming increasingly competitive throughout the leg, Kris Meeke didn’t make it to the end of SS8. He damaged his car’s rear left-hand suspension after sliding into a ditch, whilst running in fourth position.
Sébastien Loeb: “We had to give it a go! Given the conditions we had, we had to push in order not to lose too much time. I braked a little too early on an icy patch. The car slid wide and I hit a rock, which broke the suspension. We had to drive quickly, because the situation and the changing road conditions weren‘t particularly ideal for us. The roads were becoming incredibly dirty and we had to stay in touch. But we weren’t pushing too hard. It’s not like we were taking any massive risks when we went off.”
Kris Meeke: “In the middle of SS8, I slid wide on a fast left-hand corner. The car went sideways. I tried to steer into the skid to correct the trajectory, but we ended up in a ditch where we hit a small tree. We were unable to get away again because the rear suspension was broken. The car will be repaired tonight so we can rejoin under Rally 2 rules tomorrow.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Sébastien slid and hit a concrete block on the final stage. The impact broke part of the suspension. He will be able to rejoin tomorrow under Rally 2 rules. It was a gamble of sorts to enter him at Monte-Carlo and I have to say he surprised us again with his performances. With a less than ideal road position, he had to make some bold decisions so that he could continue to defend his chances of winning.”