Kris Meeke's Monte Carlo Rally bid goes cold
Day two of the Monte Carlo Rally proved disastrous for Kris Meeke, for Sebastien Loeb and for Citroen.
The French team saw their two leading cars incurring heavy penalties in similar, if not identical, incidents, handing control of the rally to Volkswagen.
It was the final stage of leg two, Les Costes, which proved so costly. Meeke had been steadily working his way towards the front, climbing from sixth to fourth place, when his DS3 Citroen skated wide on an icy corner and hit a rock buried in the snow.
It broke a wheel and damaged the suspension, leaving the Dungannon driver to limp towards the end of the stage. He didn't quite make it, pulling up just short of the finish rather than risk further damage and incurring a 10-minute penalty which dropped him to 21st place.
Shortly afterwards Loeb, who had led overnight, saw his dramatic comeback wrecked when he repeated Meeke's error and also suffered broken suspension. He made it to the end of the stage, albeit with the loss of over four minutes, slipping to 10th.
It left World champion Sebastien Ogier in the lead and heading a Volkswagen 1-2-3 with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala second and Andreas Mikkelsen third.
Mads Ostberg was the leading Citroen in fifth, sandwiched between the Fords of Ott Tanak and young Welshman Elfyn Evans.
Craig Breen recovered from his problems on the icy first stage on Thursday night, where his Peugeot was off the road twice, to climb to 17th and fifth in the WRC2 division.
Monte debut driver Daniel McKenna had led the WRC3 category after the first stage but yesterday his R3 Citroen lost third gear and he fell back to 38th, one place behind the Subaru of Eamonn Boland.