Loeb and Elena on the front foot on eve of WRC finale

Sebastien Loeb

Sebastien Loeb

French rally supremo Sebastien Loeb set the fastest time in the qualifying stage and has exercised his right to start from 14th position on the road for the Rally de Espana.

Loeb and longtime co-driver Daniel Elena wound up their Citroen DS3 to set the benchmark time near Salou.

The second fastest in qualifying, Evgeny Novikov (Ford) will start from 13th with Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen 12th on the road.

Australia’s most successful World Rally driver, the Queenslander Chris Atkinson, has chosen to blast off first in his Team Italia-prepared Mini.

It is generally thought drivers further down the starting order will be quicker with dust not expecting to hamper the later runners as it did last year.

Weather could also play a factor with a 20 per cent chance of rain predicted.

The WRC start list

1 Chris Atkinson MINI
2 Daniel Oliveira Ford
3 Jarkko Nikara MINI
4 Hans Weijs Citroen
5 Martin Prokop Ford
6 Mads Ostberg Ford
7 Ott Tanak Ford
8 Dani Sordo MINI
9 Thierry Neuville Citroen
10  Petter Solberg Ford
11  Jari-Matti Latvala Ford
12  Mikko Hirvonen Citroen
13  Evgeny Novikov Ford
14  Sebastien Loeb Citroen

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