Sebastien Ogier has edged ahead of Toyota World Rally Championship team-mate Elfyn Evans to claim the Monte Carlo Rally lead after a strong Friday afternoon loop.
Six-time WRC Monte Carlo Rally winner Ogier closed in on Evans by topping the first two stages of the afternoon's three-stage loop, and then on the final stage of the day got ahead of Evans by 1.2 seconds to lead a Toyota 1-2 at the rally's halfway point.
Ogier on the afternoon's opening stage, the 12.4-mile Curbans - Venterol test, reduced his deficit to leader Evans from 9.7s to 3.3s and with it moved past Thierry Neuville's Hyundai into second place overall.
Evans, who had dominated the morning loop to lead, ended the afternoon's first stage with a damaged front-right wheel.
He said "it just sucked me into the ditch in one place," and added that it was "not a big deal but very marginal".
Ogier then trimmed another 0.6s from Evans' advantage on the loop's second stage, from Saint-Clement-sur-Durance to Freissinieres, reducing the gap to the sister Yaris to 2.7s.
This was despite Ogier feeling that he had selected too many super-soft tyres for the dry conditions.
Ogier then took the overall lead by being 3.9s quicker than Evans on the day's final stage, between Avancon and Notre-Dame-du-Laus, although this time both were slower than stage-winner Neuville.
Overnight leader Neuville had continued to slip from the Toyotas' pace in the first two stages of the afternoon, and commented that he needed to get on top of pacenote corrections from his gravel crew, with Dani Sordo stepping in for the unwell Bruno Thiry as Neuville's opener for this rally.
With his late improvement Neuville ended the day in third, 6.4s off Ogier.
Seven-time Monte Carlo Rally winner Sebastien Loeb remained in fourth place overall in his Hyundai i20 Coupe and fell away on the stopwatch during the afternoon, to end the day just over a minute off the leader.
M-Sport's Esapekka Lappi continued in a disgruntled fifth place, falling to just under two minutes back from Ogier by the end of the day.
He is followed 22s back in sixth overall by Toyota's WRC debutant Kalle Rovanpera, who continued to impress in his Yaris. His team-mate Takamoto Katsuta is next up, over five minutes off the top.
The first of the R5 'WRC3' runners are next, with Eric Camilli in his Citroen C3 continuing to lead the way in eighth place overall, from his WRC3 rival and fellow C3 runner Nicolas Ciamin in ninth and just under a minute shy of him.
Ole Christian Veiby in his Hyundai NG i20 lost his WRC2 lead after losing around two minutes with a puncture on the afternoon's first stage.
This let Mads Ostberg, who himself had lost nearly three minutes with a puncture on this morning's opening stage, reclaim the WRC2 lead in his Citroen with a 10.7s advantage over Veiby.
Ostberg then extended his class lead to 13.9s by the day's conclusion and sits in 10th place overall.
Leading positions after SS8
|1||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1h43m31.5s|
|2||Elfyn Evans, S.Martin||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1.2s|
|3||Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||6.4s|
|4||Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||1m06.9s|
|5||Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||1m57.2s|
|6||Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||2m19.2s|
|7||Takamoto Katsuta, D.Barritt||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||5m18.7s|
|8||Eric Camilli, F-X.Buresi||Eric Camilli||Citroen||8m06.2s|
|9||Nicolas Ciamin, Y.Roche||Nicolas Ciamin||Citroen||9m04.0s|
|10||Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen||PH Sport||Citroen||9m37.2s|
|11||Ole-Christian Veiby, J.Andersson||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai||9m51.1s|
|12||Yoann Bonato, B.Boulloud||Yoann Bonato||Citroen||10m01.9s|
|13||Yohan Rossel, B.Fulcrand||PH Sport||Citroen||10m03.1s|
|14||Gregoire Munster, L.Louka||Gregoire Munster||Skoda||10m08.1s|
|15||Oliver Solberg, A.Johnston||Oliver Solberg||Volkswagen||10m53.3s|
|16||Teemu Suninen, J.Lehtinen||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||11m26.8s|
|17||Nikolay Gryazin, Y.Fedorov||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai||11m29.4s|
|18||Adrien Fourmaux, R.Jamoul||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||12m12.5s|
|19||Rhys Yates, J.Morgan||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||13m36.9s|
|20||Deividas Jocius, M.Varza||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||13m49.5s|
|21||Olivier Burri, A.Levratti||Olivier Burri||Volkswagen||16m28.8s|
|22||Mauro Miele, L.Beltrame||Mauro Miele||Skoda||18m24.7s|
|23||Raphael Astier, F.Vauclare||Raphael Astier||FIAT||19m49.6s|
|24||Damien Oberti, T.Escartefigue||Damien Oberti||Peugeot||24m08.5s|
|25||Christophe Ganguet, E.Frison||Christophe Ganguet||Ford||24m14.4s|
|26||Sean Johnston, A.Kihurani||Sean Johnston||Peugeot||24m40.9s|
|28||Eamonn Boland, M.J.Morrissey||Eamonn Boland||Ford||25m19.5s|
|29||Thibaut Poizot, M.Grand||Thibaut Poizot||Renault||25m38.0s|
|30||Alessandro Gino, D.Fappani||Alessandro Gino||Skoda||25m59.0s|
|31||Renaud Dolce, Q.Giroud||Renaud Dolce||Peugeot||27m06.4s|
|32||Nicolas Latil, R.Roche||Nicolas Latil||Volkswagen||27m55.1s|
|33||Ismael Vuistiner, F.Kummer||Ismael Vuistiner||Renault||28m00.0s|
|34||Jeremy Caradec, C.Amoros||Jeremy Caradec||Renault||28m01.7s|
|35||Bertrand Pierrat, A.Chevalier||Bertrand Pierrat||Volkswagen||29m36.5s|
|36||Victor Cartier, M.Margaillan||Victor Cartier||Ford||31m12.4s|
|37||Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio, M.Bosi||Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio||Skoda||31m37.7s|
|38||Boris Carminati, M.Lacruz||Boris Carminati||Renault||33m28.5s|
|39||Tony Ribaudo, J.Degrange||Tony Ribaudo||Peugeot||33m32.7s|
|40||Mickael Boisseranc, C.C.-Rolland||Mickael Boisseranc||Ford||33m42.4s|
|41||Henk Vossen, E.Berkhof||Henk Vossen||Ford||34m56.5s|
|42||Nikos Pavlidis, A.Harryman||Nikolaos Pavlidis||Peugeot||35m18.3s|
|43||Sacha Althaus, L.Zbinden||Sacha Althaus||Peugeot||36m01.1s|
|44||Jean-Pierre Gatti, R.Belleville||Jean-Pierre Gatti||Peugeot||36m46.4s|
|45||Alessandro Prosdocimo, M.L.Zanet||Alessandro Prosdocimo||Peugeot||37m14.3s|
|46||Lilian Vialle, M.Ghirardello||Lilian Vialle||Renault||37m21.2s|
|47||Zoltan Laszlo, T.Begala||Martin Laszlo||Ford||38m00.2s|
|48||Remy Rota, J.Escartefigue||Remy Rota||Peugeot||38m03.5s|
|49||Richard Desbordes, S.Desbordes||Richard Desbordes||Citroen||38m19.5s|
|50||Laure Jaussaud, J.T.-Escartefigue||Laure Jaussaud||Renault||38m32.4s|
|51||Pascal Eouzan, P.Eouzan||Pascal Eouzan||Peugeot||38m46.1s|
|52||Christopher Garcin, F.Nicoulau||Christopher Garcin||Ford||39m00.0s|
|53||Thibault Lefebvre, P.Barnier||Thibault Lefebvre||Peugeot||39m08.2s|
|54||Michel Ducreux, A.Raoult||Michel Ducreux||Peugeot||39m34.6s|
|55||Ermanno Dionisio, F.Grimaldi||Ermanno Dionisio||Dacia||39m49.6s|
|56||Enrico Brazzoli, M.Barone||Enrico Brazzoli||Skoda||40m50.9s|
|57||Martin Lemaire, P.Barboni||Martin Lemaire||Citroen||41m12.2s|
|58||Benjamin Duhamel, S.Szys||Duhamel Benjamin||Renault||41m22.7s|
|59||Baptiste Martin, J.Troin||Baptiste Martin||Renault||42m10.0s|
|60||Gilles Michellier, C.Richard||Gilles Michellier||Peugeot||42m20.7s|
|61||Carlo Covi, M.Lorigiola||Carlo Covi||Ford||42m33.9s|
|62||Miguel Diaz-Aboitiz, D.Sanjuan||Miguel Diaz-Aboitiz||Skoda||44m52.1s|
|63||Christophe Berard, C.Bernabo||Christophe Berard||Ford||45m08.4s|
|64||Rachele Somaschini, C.Lombardi||Rachele Somaschini||Citroen||45m27.1s|
|65||Domenico Ramoino, B.Banaudi||Domenico Ramoino||Renault||45m56.9s|
|66||Luc Caprasse, R.Herman||Luc Caprasse||Abarth||46m01.4s|
|67||Eric Filippi, F.Mazotti||Eric Filippi||Renault||46m13.8s|
|68||Bernard Jaussaud, C.Jaussaud||Bernard Jaussaud||Renault||47m03.6s|
|69||Alain Cusimano, E.Massin||Alain Cusimano||Renault||49m19.3s|
|70||Thierry Lartillier, C.Lemoine||Thierry Lartillier||Renault||49m35.4s|
|71||Marc Dessi, P.Dessi||Marc Dessi||Peugeot||51m08.2s|
|72||Jean-Marc Jerusalmi, G.Luthen||Jean-Marc Jerusalmi||Renault||56m30.8s|
|73||Julien Cartagena, A.Aubery||Julien Cartagena||Peugeot||1h00m35.9s|
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