Sebastien Ogier's hopes of a second straight Monte Carlo Rally victory have been ended by mechanical problems two stages from the finish.
The Frenchman looked set for second place after a spectacular recovery drive following a trip off the road on Wednesday, and had still hoped to challenge Mikko Hirvonen for the rally win. But his Peugeot 207 failed to start the penultimate stage, with initial reports suggesting that it suffered an alternator failure on the road section before the start.
Ogier's retirement all but guarantees victory for Hirvonen and the new S2000 Ford Fiesta. The Finn's advantage over second-placed Skoda driver Juho Hanninen is nearly one and a half minutes with just one stage remaining.