Sebastien Loeb takes early Rally Germany leadSebastien Loeb has prevailed on top after the opening day of action at the Rally of Deutschland.
The Frenchman was fastest on four of the six asphalt stages and now holds a commanding 20.4s lead, as he pursues his ninth consecutive victory in the event.
Petter Solberg sits in second place while his factory Ford teammate Jari-Matti Latvala sits in third, just 9.0s behind the Swede.
Citroen Junior World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville completed the day a strong fourth overall and was followed by Dani Sordi, Mikko Hirvonen, Ott Tanak and Mads Ostberg.
Australia’s Chris Atkinson finished the day ninth in his return to the World Rally Championship. Making his debut for WRC Team MINI Portugal Atkinson seemed upbeat in comments following the days proceedings.
“It’s been a 100 percent learning experience but it’s been good fun,” he said.
“I want to be faster but I’ve not been on Tarmac for three years so I know my times can be a lot faster.”
Sebastien Ogier rounded out the top 10 in his Skoda Fabia.
Australia’s other entrant in the rally, Brendan Reeves, sits third in the WRC Academy segment after recovering from an off-road excursion on the first stage of the event.
“We’re third now, and everyone will be pushing hard tomorrow,” said Reeves.
“The rough roads in Panzerplatte will be crazy, we’ll have to push hard. But we have ten good tyres so that’s good – we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Rally Germany : End of Leg 1
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen WRT||1:22:18.0|
|2||Petter Solberg||Ford WRT||+0:20.4|
|3||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford WRT||+0:29.4|
|4||Thierry Neuville||Citroen Junior||+0:34.5|
|5||Dani Sordo||Prodrive Mini||+0:46.7|
|6||Mikko Hirvonen||Citroen WRT||+0:48.9|
|7||Ott Tanak||M-Sport Ford||+1:17.9|
|8||Mads Ostberg||Adapta Ford||+1:28.7|
|9||Chris Atkinson||Portugal Mini||+2:34.8|
|10||Sebastien Ogier||VW Skoda||+3:43.3|