The opening day of the 2017 World Rally Championship at the Rally Monte Carlo began with the opening stage being cancelled following an accident involving a spectator. Sadly, the spectator succumbed to their injures on Friday night.

The Citroen Racing team return to full-time competition in the World Rally Championship on Friday with Kris Meeke ending the day in 4th place driving the new C3 WRC, 15.8s behind stage winner Thierry Neuville.

Speaking following stage 2, Meeke commented by saying:

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

Stephane Lefebrve in the second C3 WRC encountered a mechanical issue with his car and was forced to stop the car early. Speaking about the overall day, Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton commented by saying:

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. 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.

Waterford’s Craig Breen, driving the DS3 WRC ended the day in seventh place 25.4s behind leader Thierry Neuville.

Speaking following the day of action Breen commented by saying:

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned my time at the end of SS2. I thought I would be a lot further behind the 2017 cars! It’s quite good fun, although it was difficult to read the road in some places. I’m pleased with my opening stage.

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