World rally driving champion Sébastien Loeb of France is in the lead after the first day of the Monte Carlo Rally, the season-opening event on the World Rally Championship circuit.
The two-time defending Monte Carlo champion drove his Citroën Xsara WRC to a total time of one hour, 18:46.09. Teammate Francois Duval of Belgium is second overall, 32.7 seconds behind Loeb.
Former world champion Marcus Grönholm of Finland is third overall in a Peugeot, more than one minute behind the French driver. Norwegian Petter Solberg in a Subaru is fourth.
Loeb has won 10 rallies in his career, and last season became the first French driver since Didier Auriol to win the World title. The Monte Carlo Rally continues through Sunday.
Some information for this report provided by AP.