Volkswagen may have left the World Rally Championship (WRC), but there was still a familiar victor in the first race of the 2017 season as Sebastien Ogier marked his M-Sport debut by winning the Monte Carlo Rally once again.
Four-time reigning world champion Ogier was forced to find a new team when Volkswagen pulled out of the WRC last December.
Yet the switch to M-Sport and a Ford Fiesta appears to have had little impact on the Frenchman's dominance. He triumphed by two minutes and 15 seconds on Sunday to secure a fourth successive Monte Carlo win.
Ogier was quoted by the WRC's official website as saying: "To be honest I expected to have this victory one day, I was hoping for it, but to have it from the first race, after only one month together, with so little preparation, it really feels amazing.
"Of course, this result doesn't mean that the season is going to be easy. We know we still have to keep working hard, but at least we start with lots of points so we are happy with this."
Jari-Matti Latvala secured second place for Toyota on their return to the WRC, with Ogier's M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak forced to settle for third after suffering engine problems on the final day.