Reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier has taken the early lead in the WRC season-opening Monte Carlo rally.

The M-Sport Ford driver leads the event after two stages despite suffering from a spin on the opening test in a chaotic start to the season.

Ogier holds a 17.3s lead over Hyundai's Andreas Mikkelsen with Dani Sordo third in another Hyundai.

The Hyundai of Thierry Neuville was the big loser on the two night stages. He went off the road in the opening test and dropped four minutes.


Most of the major contenders ran into problems in the slippery conditions. Ott Tanak, in his debut event with Toyota, slid into a bank on the opening stage but recovered to be fifth while teammate Jari-Matti Latvala was sixth after two separate spins.

Craig Breen went off the road on SS1 in his Citroen and lost maybe 40 seconds while teammate Kris Meeke lost two minutes when he reversed into a ditch after an innocuous spin.

Ogier's M-Sport Ford teammate Elfyn Evans had a puncture cost him time on the first stage before a throttle issue saw him fall further back on the second test.

The first full day of action takes place overnight.