Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 10 views remaining

You have read 5 stories this month. After 15, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 15 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.


Glenn Freeman
AUTOSPORT.com Editor

autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
WRC NEWS 

Loeb tops Swedish shakedown

Sebastien Loeb, Citroen, Rally Sweden 2010Sebastien Loeb has made the perfect start to the new season, posting the fastest time at the pre-Rally Sweden shakedown stage.

The reigning World Rally champion was more than a second faster than anybody through the 2.5-mile stage, with his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo setting the second quickest time.

Loeb's fastest time came on his fourth and final run at the stage. He was 1.2 seconds faster than Sordo, with top Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala third quickest, a further second down on Sordo.

"Shakedown was okay, no problem," said Loeb. "Other drivers have done some rallies since the last round of last year's world championship, but I haven't. I did two days of testing and shakedown this morning, this has to be enough. I have to get in the car and be on the pace straight away."

Loeb admitted the return of five-time Rally Sweden winner Marcus Gronholm was a concern for him.

"I think it can be a big battle for the victory," Loeb added. "Mikko [Hirvonen] is going to be competitive and Marcus is coming back and Petter [Solberg] has the same car as we have. There are a few Nordic drivers - it won't be so easy for me."

Gronholm was fifth fastest at shakedown, just two tenths behind fourth-placed man Hirvonen.

"The time was okay," said Gronholm. "I'm happy with that. Now we start the rally and now we will see what happens. A podium would be nice, but we have to see when we are in the stages tomorrow. I have been a long time away from the rally. Lately, I have done a lot more skiing than I have done driving."

Former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was 10th fastest, 5.9s off the pace-setting Loeb.

Reigning Junior World Rally champion Martin Prokop was fastest of the new Super 2000 WRC drivers. His Ford Fiesta S2000 was three tenths of a second up on P-G Andersson's Skoda Fabia S2000.

The rally proper commences with a ceremonial start in Karlstad this evening, before a superspecial run around the town's trotting track.

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  RELATED STORIES
Raikkonen sure Mexico will be easier
Hirvonen claims victory in Sweden
Hirvonen closes on Sweden win
Martin: Hirvonen can hang on for win
Q & A with Pirelli's Mario Isola
Sordo blames co-driver for mistake
Ford hails Hirvonen's 'best ever' drive
Hirvonen pulls away in Sweden
Gronholm delighted to win Sagen
Andersson plans to cruise to finish
Sordo 'responding to Ogier threat'
Wilson praises stage delay decision
Hirvonen fends off Loeb after SS12
Crowds delay Swedish stages
Hirvonen leads into Sweden day two
Hirvonen not worried by running first
Q & A with Marcus Gronholm
Gronholm rues poor preparation
Hirvonen extends lead in Sweden
Gronholm, Raikkonen hit trouble
Hirvonen takes lead, Solberg goes off
Sordo says he can go quicker
Andersson dominates in S2000
Solberg confident he will improve
Loeb praises Swedish stage repairs
Loeb takes early lead in Sweden
Sordo wins Sweden superspecial
Loeb anxious about stage conditions
Haymarket