The Banbury-built Mini world rally cars maintained their top ten placings after the third day of the Monte Carlo Rally.

The drivers arrived in Monte Carlo for the overnight halt with Spaniards Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio lying second, and Frecnh crew Pierre Campana and Sabrina de Castelli seventh, having completed the most difficult stage of the event, the 24.13 kilometre stage at Cimetière de Vassieux – Col de Gaudissart.

On this classic stage, the middle one of the three that accounted for a total of 77.30 competitive kilometres, not only did Sordo retake second from Petter Solberg, after the Norwegian had moved ahead of him on the first stage of the day, but Campana set the third fastest time, behind Mikko Hirvonen and Sébastien Loeb.

Campana in his Mini John Cooper Works WRC started the day in seventh, dropped behind Ott Tanak after stage 11, but was back in front of him at the lunch time service halt.

Team principal Dave Wilcock said tyre choice was difficult at the start of the day with lots of information coming in on weather, predicting everything from rain to fog, ice and snow.

He said: "You name it we had just about every combination. Based on this, our tyre decision was a safe one, but by the time we left service we realised all three manufacturers were on different tyre strategies.

"Clearly for Petter the super softs were the right ones for the first stage, but then we were waiting to see how the second stage unfolded.

"At the end of the day our safe option worked as Petter dropped over a minute to Dani on stage 12. What we have seen with Pierre is he is a little bit less confident on the ice and snow, so for him we chose to run four studs to give him confidence in those wet and slippery conditions.

"It paid off, as it was the right tyre for stage 12, although he sacrificed time on the first stage. However, it rewarded him with third on stage 12 and that is fantastic for him.”