Ogier extends his lead after day 3 of Monte Carlo Rally

S├ębastien Ogier- Ford Fiesta WRC

MONACO (AP) - Defending world rally champion Sebastien Ogier extended his lead despite not winning any of the five stages on the third day of the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally on Saturday.

The French Ford Fiesta driver finished the day 15 seconds ahead of Estonian driver Ott Tanak and one minute ahead of Spanish driver Dani Sordo.

Lappi started the day 1.6s ahead of Meeke but added 12s to that on SS14 and was just over half a second slower on the next stage to have a decent cushion heading into the final two runs.

"It was very dirty out there, maybe my tyres were not the flawless choice".

Ogier joined M-Sport last season after Volkswagen, with whom he won his first four titles, pulled out as part of a strategic shift to help the German carmaker overcome a costly emissions scandal.

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The next leg of the world championships is the Rally Sweden from February 15-18. "It was very dirty and we were a bit on the limit". He needs only to safely negotiate Sunday's last four stages to win it again, and begin his bid for a sixth straight world title in ideal fashion.

Thierry Neuville, runner-up on the Power stage, jumped up two place on SS17 La Cabanette - Col de Braus 2 to take fifth place for Hyundai after a disastrous opening pair of stages with an off and a puncture which pushed him four minute behind the front-runners.

Ogier is the first driver to win the Rally Monte Carlo five times in a row.

Behind the top two Jari-Matti Latvala in the sister Toyota claimed a distant third place - nearly one minute behind Tanak - but his finish hands the Japanese brand the early lead in the WRC manufacturers' championship. Countryman Sebastien Loeb won nine straight from 2004-2012.

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