The Monte Carlo Rally running order is a mystery at the end of day one of the World Rally Championship season-opener with a timing problem leaving teams and fans in the dark.
Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT) took over from Stage One Technology as the WRC's timing and tracking supplier for 2013 and an issue with communications on stage three meant a slew of unreliable times as the official system registered gaps of several minutes between lead cars.
Although accurate timings appear to be coming through from stage four, the last of Wednesday's leg, the overall order remains unknown given the lack of SS3 times. Unofficial estimated times suggest Sebastien Loeb continues to lead the rally for Citroen, with an increasing gap over Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier.
Sebastien Loeb’s partial retirement from rallying means the WRC will crown a new champion this year and, at long last, there isn’t one competitor standing out as the favourite. Loeb – winner of 15 per cent of all WRC rallies ever held – will contest four rounds of the 2013 season with Total Citroen as he eases into retirement. That won’t be enough to give him the 2013 title, though, and there are no fewer than five names in the running to take on his mantle; Mikko Hirvonen, Sebastien Ogier, Mads Ostberg, Dani Sordo and Jari-Matti Latvala, now driving for the new VW team.