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Published: Friday January 18, 2013 MYT 10:09:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 18, 2013 MYT 3:18:24 PM

Snow king Loeb thrives on Monte Carlo ice

VALENCE (France): Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb thrived in the polar cold of the historic Monte Carlo Rally on Thursday, taking his Citroen to a 1min 35sec lead over Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier.

As the drivers opted for studded tyres to combat the gruelling snow-filled and ice-packed course, 38-year-old Loeb extended his advantage over his French compatriot by 15 seconds on the day.

"Our objective was to conserve our lead - we have improved on it, so things could not have gone better," said six-time Monte Carlo winner Loeb, who will race only four events in this year's world championship.

Loeb captured just two of the day's six stages, which were watched by thousands of spectators along the route despite temperatures plummeting to -12 degrees.

Ogier, one of the favourites for the title in Volkswagen's debut season, appears to be already feeling the strain, snapping at reporters who compared his times to those of Loeb.

"I don't care about Loeb. He is not doing the championship," said Ogier. - AFP

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