Thierry Neuville, winner of the first special on Thursday evening and second at noon after three specials, is the first Huyndai driver. He is in 4th place 16 seconds behind Loeb. Saint-Vithois is ahead of his two teammates, Spaniard Dani Sordo, 5th at 22.2 seconds, and Estonian Ott Tänak, 6th at 31.1 seconds.
Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) of Finland is in 9th place at 1:07.8 after having to give way.
At the end of the first special event of the day, Thierry Neuville had lost his position as the main leader due to dust. The organizers had decided to start the cars every three minutes. In some areas, visibility was poor and the pilots, including Neuville, protested. The agency immediately anticipated the criticism and later decided to send pilots every four minutes.
Sébastien Loeb took first place in the second special (the first on Friday). In the three meetings he started this year, the Alsatian found himself in the lead and in Monte Carlo, he even won. After more than half of the first day of competition, Pierre-Louis Loubet entered the scene. The Frenchman won his first stage in the WRC (5th) and took the lead of the rally 3.3 seconds ahead of Lappi. Loubet was also faster in the next stage (SS 6) and increased his lead (3.6 over Lappi).
In the final special of the day, the veteran went on the attack. Not only did Loeb win his third special of the day, but he also regained the race lead from Loubet.
Of all the top drivers, only Craig Breen (Ford Puma Rally1) was unlucky. The Irishman had a puncture and had to stop to change his wheel. In the standings, this misfortune translates into eleventh place in 2:15.3 from Loeb.
On Saturday, stage 2 will consist of six stages before the final three on Sunday.