Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier completed the second day of Rally Monte Carlo in first place, adding a further two stage wins to his tally.
The Frenchman continued to battle with Citroen driver Kris Meeke out front, first beating him by five seconds in SS6 and then surrendering the overall lead in SS7.
However, Ogier fought back to go 10.3s faster than the Briton through the final test of the day, taking a solid advantage into Saturday.
"A great battle with Kris today," Ogier commented. "He's driving well. I'm happy with my day. Some small mistakes here and there and now I think I have a slow puncture on the left rear. I'm happy though."
Jari-Matti Latvala took advantage of a spin from Volkswagen teammate Andreas Mikkelsen in SS7 to complete the day in third, with the Norwegian dropping back to fourth.
Mikkelsen was followed by Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg, albeit the former admitted to struggling throughout the afternoon due to a wrong tyre choice.
Dani Sordo was seventh, more than three minutes off Ogier’s pace, while the Fords of Bryan Bouffier and Ott Tanak were further two minutes behind, the Estonian temporarily stopping at SS6.
WRC debutant Eric Camilli failed to make it past SS6, having slid off and retired at the same place Robert Kubica did in the stage’s morning run.
Standings after SS8:
|Pos.||Driver / Co-Driver||Car||Time/Delay|
Thierry NeuvilleNicolas Gilsoul