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WRC champion Sebastien Ogier wins Monte Carlo Rally

Sebastien Ogier opened the defence of his World Rally Championship title with victory at the Monte Carlo Rally.

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Defending champion Sebastien Ogier completed a comfortable victory in the World Rally Championship season opener in Monte Carlo to head a Volkswagen sweep of the podium.

The Frenchman, who won the title in 2013 and 2014, was defending a narrow advantage following his decision to adopt a somewhat cautious approach in Saturday's stages, which took place in treacherous conditions.

That allowed his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to shave a minute off the time difference between the two heading into Sunday's final three stages.

But an assured display on the final day saw Ogier triumph over the Finn by 58 seconds, securing a second consecutive triumph at the French venue.

"It's a huge challenge but the satisfaction is even more when you make it," Ogier said.

"Conditions were so tricky this year. It means a lot, especially for me, so close to my home town."

Ogier's route to victory was made easier after his intense battle with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb - who returned for a one-off attempt at the Monte Carlo rally - was effectively ended when the Citroen driver hit a wall on Friday.

Latvala, who picked up a bonus point in the powerstage with the third-best time, was thrilled to pick up a runners-up berth.

"I'm delighted," he said. "This is much more than I expected, before the rally I was thinking fourth or fifth. I must thank my ice crew for their information."

Andreas Mikkelsen managed to secure third place despite a late charge from Citroens Mads Ostberg.

The Norwegian's fourth-placed finish was particularly impressive considering he encountered engine problems on Saturday, while the issue once more reared its head on Sunday's powerstage.

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville rounded off the top five ahead of team-mate Daniel Sordo, while Elfyn Evans (M-Sport), Loeb, Martin Prokop (Jipocar) and Kris Meeke (Citroen) were in the top 10.

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