GAP, France (AFP) – Sebastien Loeb saw his hopes of an eighth Monte Carlo Rally title dented Friday when his Citroen suffered a broken rear suspension following a collision with a rock on the icy surface.
Nine-time world champion Loeb, who had led overnight as well as at the midway stage on Friday, was understood to have lost around six minutes after the accident on the day’s final run.
That allowed two-time defending world champion Sebastien Ogier to overturn a 41sec deficit to snatch the overnight lead with two days left to race in the 83rd edition of the famed rally. The Volkswagen driver now has a 1min 45.4sec advantage over teammate Jari-Matti Latvala with another Volkswagen pilot Andreas Mikkelsen in third spot.
The former champion attempted makeshift repairs at the roadside but the patched-up Citroen was forced to limp home.
Ogier took full advantage by taking the honours on the eighth stage for his first win of the event.
Loeb is racing in the world championship for the first time in 15 months and his run for Citroen in Monte Carlo is his only scheduled appearance of the 2015 season.