World Rally Championship: Kris Meeke fourth in Monte Carlo

Kris Meeke in Rally Monte Carlo
Kris Meeke got his 2018 World Rally campaign off to a strong start

Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke has finished fourth in the season-opening Rally Monte Carlo.

The Citroen driver's steady approach paid off as he lacked the pace of his rivals but managed to avoid trouble.

Meeke was fifth heading into the penultimate stage but put in a sensational final run to just miss out on the podium.

Five-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier took victory ahead of Toyota duo Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Meeke dropped to 10th after the opening stage following a brief foray into a ditch in icy conditions but he progressed up the standings to sixth after team-mate Craig Breen and Andreas Mikkelsen hit problems on Saturday's loop.

He moved up another spot when Huyundai's Dani Sordo retired and was briefly running in fourth after Toyota's Esapekka Lappi suffered a puncture, but the Finn recovered to steal the position back on Saturday's final stage.

Meeke's battle with Lappi continued on the final loop but the Finn ran off the road, throwing away his fourth place in the process.

Welshman Elfyn Evans was only one second behind Meeke heading into the final stage of the day, but the Dungannon driver stormed to the fastest time, collecting the five bonus Power Stage points in the process.

"It was a difficult weekend," said Meeke, "I couldn't get any feeling in the car but it's nice to finish well."

Meeke sits joint-third in the standings, level with Latvala on 17 points thanks to his Power Stage victory.