Rallye Monte Carlo Update

As expected, Sebastien Loeb has a comfortable two minute over his nearest challenger, Marcus Gronholm. Loeb was feeling the heat earlier in the day from teammate Francois Duval until Duval had an off on SS6, taking out a utility pole and halting the stage. Duval was ok, but damage forced him to retire from event. Skoda’s Armin Schwarz was also a victim of a shunt, crashing his Fabia on SS7 (and forcing an early end the stage). Ford’s Toni Gardemeister is a having a fine first rally for the team, holding a slight edge on Subaru’s Petter Solberg. Mitsubishi had a fine day with Gilles Panizzi taking one stage win and posting several other top 5 times. The team has to be happy with the speed of the retooled Lancer, especially on tarmac. And should Harri Rovanpera hold seventh tomorrow, the team will walk away from the rally with a nice points haul (the only other to have two cars in the points is Peugeot). Solberg is only nine seconds adrift of Gardemeister, so the Norwegian may push the pace a bit tomorrow to score a podium spot.