Rallying-Ogier holds off Neuville to claim Monte Carlo win
Jan 27 (Reuters) - Sebastien Ogier kicked off the defence of his world title with victory in the opening Rallye Monte Carlo as the Frenchman held off Belgian rival Thierry Neuville on Sunday.
The Citroen driver started the final stage with a 0.4-second advantage over Neuville after the Belgian had won the penultimate stage to increase the pressure on the six-time world champion.
But Ogier kept his cool to finish second in the final power stage behind Britain's Kris Meeke, who took top spot with a time of 9 minutes and 37.3 seconds, with Neuville coming third 1.8 seconds behind the Frenchman.
Overall, Ogier won his seventh Rallye Monte Carlo by 2.2 seconds and Estonian Ott Tanak took third place two minutes and 15.2 seconds off the pace in a Toyota.
Shortly after returning from the Dakar Rally, nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb took fourth place for Hyundai.
"At the end of the day it's not that bad, we scored points for the team," the Frenchman said.
The second leg of the world championship will be held in Sweden from Feb. 14-17. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)