Citroen's return to the World Rally Championship produced mixed results on the shortened opening day of Rally Monte Carlo.

The opening stage of the rally was cancelled after the unfortunate crash involving New Zealander Hayden Paddon, which saw a spectator killed.

In the only completed stage of the day lead driver Kris Meeke posted the fourth fastest time but was 15.8 seconds behind leader Thierry Neuville.

Teammate Craig Breen seventh quickest 25.4 seconds behind Neuville's Hyundai but the third Citroen C3 of Stephane Lefebvre failed to finish the second stage with a transmission problem.


"Kris's pace was consistent with what we planned to have at the start, insofar as it wasn't necessary to be leading the rally tonight," Team Principal Yves Matton said.

"We're obviously disappointed for Stéphane. We'll wait for the car to get back to service to analyse the problem and the circumstances in which it arose. We are confident that both Citroën C3 WRCs will be able to continue the rally tomorrow."

Meeke took no risks on the opening day, opting just to get to the finish line safely.
He says the accident involving Paddon was disappointing.

"It's not how I imagine anyone wanted to start the season, with a stage cancelled because one of the competitors went off," the Northern Irishman said.

"SS2 was tricky, especially due to the gravel dragged onto the racing line by the first few cars. When you're as cautious as I was, it ends up costing you quite a bit of time.

"We learned some new things about the car and overall, I'm fairly pleased with this first leg."