Sebastien Loeb had time to enjoy the scenery as he maintained his Monte Carlo Rally advantage on Friday morning.
The world champion took a cautious approach to the snowy St Jean en Royans stage, which he described as "the most beautiful of the rally", and was still fastest by 1.5 seconds over Sebastien Ogier.
The gap between the Citroen and Volkswagen at the front of the field therefore stands at 1m36s.
But the fight over third has closed up again. A spin for Dani Sordo means his Citroen is now only 7.4 seconds ahead of Evgeny Novikov's Qatar M-Sport Ford.
Further back, Bryan Bouffier went off the road and needed help from spectators to get going again, dropping him back to ninth.
Friday's itinerary consists of just three stages, with the field now heading for service before the afternoon loop of two, including the classic Sisteron.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sebastien Loeb