Sebastien Loeb continues to extend his Monte Carlo Rally lead, having judged the conditions perfectly as the weather changed on Friday morning.
SS12 featured two kilometers of snow and ice, and Loeb (Citroen) was one of several drivers to run on four studded tires, allowing him to pull over two minutes clear of second-placed Dani Sordo.
The Mini driver used two winter tires without studs, and though he lost 36 seconds to Loeb, he gained over a minute on his second-place rival Petter Solberg, whose Ford was running entirely on slicks. That dropped Solberg a minute behind Sordo in the overall standings, but he is still 36sec clear of fourth-placed Mikko Hirvonen despite the Finn taking his first stage win in Citroen colors on SS12 as he too chose all-studded tires.
M-Sport Ford duo Evgeny Novikov and Francois Delecour remain fifth and sixth, but after taking seventh with a strong time on SS11, their teammate Ott Tanak fell back to eighth behind Pierre Campana on SS12 as the Mini driver also picked the right tires and set an impressive third-fastest time.
Leading positions after SS12:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h14m13.6s
2. Dani Sordo Mini + 2m09.0s
3. Petter Solberg Ford + 3m09.6s
4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 3m45.9s
5. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 4m25.7s
6. Francois Delecour M-Sport Ford + 6m19.9s
7. Pierre Campana Mini + 7m24.7s
8. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 8m17.9s
9. P-G Andersson Proton + 12m15.0s
10. Kevin Abbring VW Skoda + 13m59.6s