Loeb wins 3 stages to take Monte Carlo lead

Loeb wins 3 stages to take Monte Carlo lead

Published Jan. 16, 2013 1:03 p.m. ET

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb won three of Wednesday's four stages to take a commanding lead on the opening day of the Monte Carlo rally, one of only four races the Frenchman will contest this season after going into semi-retirement.

Loeb has won six of the past seven Monte Carlo rallies and looks set for another victory. The Citroen driver leads countryman Sebastien Ogier, who won the first stage of the day, by 1 minute, 20.3 seconds. Finland's Mikko Hirvonen was in third place, 1:46.7 back.

Loeb has no chance of securing a 10th straight world title as he will race only in Sweden, Argentina and France this year after Monte Carlo.