Sébastien Loeb never turned a wheel wrong over the five days taking Rally Monte-Carlo to score his 68th WRC victory. The eight-time world champion capped off a perfect week with the Power Stage win and a maximum 28 points.

Controlled aggression, brilliant tyre choices, experience and a blindingly fast DS3 WRC combined to show why the Frenchman is in a league of his own. And there’s no better way to get his campaign for a ninth title than victory on the hardest round on the calendar. "It is always great to start the season like this, especially in Monte-Carlo”, said the victor. "Taking maximum points in the first rally is perfect. Monte-Carlo is my rally!”

Following Loeb in the Power Stage was Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen with second best time and Russian Evgeny Novikov.
Mini’s return to the Principality had those old enough to remember harking nostalgic for the makes golden era of the 1960’s when it won the event on three occasions. Dani Sordo came up with the goods and was rewarded with the 18 championship points going to the runner-up.

The last man to have won a world crown prior to Loeb, Petter Solberg was beaming from the first test at Le Moulinon - Antraigues through to the Power Stage at Ste Agnes - Col de la Madone. The Norwegian was gushing with praise for his 2012 machine. "I never dreamed of having a car as good as this, and to be able to attack on the stages like I have is unbelievable",” exclaimed Solberg.

Mikko Hirvonen struggled to find pace early in the week, but when the conditions were dry and team-mate Loeb was comfortably in the lead, the Finn showed promise setting three consecutive best times from late Friday and early Saturday to take fourth place.

Evgeny Novikov drove steady on his first go on the rally and brought his Fiesta home with a respectable fifth place. Winner of the 1994 edition, Francois Delecour turned heads with sixth place and showed just how fit and focused he is when he lost power steering and then radio communications with his co-driver but still ran at the sharp end of the order on the stages above Monaco on Saturday. And the near 50-year old Delecour even handed the driving duties on the Power Stage over to co-driver Dominique Savignoni, who is retiring after the event.

The top ten was completed by up and coming Frenchman Pierre Campana in the second Pro Drive Mini. Campana was followed by Estonian Ott Tanak, the Czech Republic’s Martin Prokop in privateer Fords and Portugal’s Armind Araujo, making it three Minis in the points.   

2 Sordo +2:45.5s
3 P. Solberg + 3:14.2s
4 Hirvonen +4:06.8s
5 Novikov+6:03.4s
6 Delecour+7:47.9s
7 Campana+8:31.4s
8 Tanak+10:34.7s
9 Prokop +16:10.7s
10 Araujo+16:16.6s 

1 Sébastien Loeb 3points
2 Mikko Hirvonen 2
3 Evgeny Novikov 1