Loeb leads after Latvala falters in Spain

Sebastien Loeb

Sebastien Loeb

Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb will run first on the road for the second day of Rally de Espana after taking the lead from Jari-Matti Latvala on the final stage of Leg 1.

Loeb initially benefited from his road position during Friday’s running as hanging dust slowed his nearest rivals.

The Frenchman’s fortunes turned around in the afternoon however as the road sweeping effect allowed Latvala to overhaul him to hold a 16s lead heading into the night stage.

A spin and right-front puncture for the Ford driver would be the day’s final twist – handing Loeb a 30s advantage.

“It’s been a very hard day,” said Loeb.

“Luckily I had a bit of dust on the first stage but in the afternoon the road has been really difficult and I should have lost much more time.”

Latvala’s team-mate Mikko Hirvonen sits a further 24s adrift in third, with the co-championship leader having been extra cautious while running in Loeb’s dust during the morning.

Second works Citroen driver Sebastien Ogier is a full 1:45.3s down on Loeb having suffered an early puncture, while the Minis of Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke sit sixth and seventh respectively.

Mads Ostberg (Stobart Ford), Henning Solberg (Stobart Ford), Evgeny Novikov (CRT Citroen) and Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford) round out the top 10.

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