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WRC NEWS 

Sebastien Loeb extends Rally Mexico advantage

Sebastien LoebSebastien Loeb stretched his lead over Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to 11.2 seconds as leg one of Rally Mexico came to a close.

The world champion won the Leon street stage, and then took more time out of the Finn on the two evening runs through the superspecial, which were affected by heavy rain.

Mads Ostberg (Adapta Ford) managed to maintain a cushion of 16s over recovering works Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala through the three short stages, but Latvala's team-mate Petter Solberg moved past Ott Tanak to take fifth. A 10s penalty for the M-Sport Ford for checking in late at a time control cost him the place, but he got back to within 1.3s of Solberg with quick times on the superspecial.

The unusual weather for the superspecial meant some different names atop the stage times, as Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar Citroen) claimed his first World Rally Championship stage win on the opening run, and returnee Chris Atkinson went quickest in his Monster Ford on the second pass.

Leading positions after SS12:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car         Time/Gap
 1.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen        1h24m46.4s
 2.  Mikko Hirvonen      Citroen           + 11.2s
 3.  Mads Ostberg        Adapta Ford     + 1m11.9s
 4.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford            + 1m27.9s
 5.  Petter Solberg      Ford            + 1m35.4s
 6.  Ott Tanak           M-Sport Ford    + 1m36.7s
 7.  Evgeny Novikov      M-Sport Ford    + 2m02.0s
 8.  Chris Atkinson      Monster Ford    + 2m33.7s
 9.  Nasser Al-Attiyah   Qatar Citroen   + 2m48.6s
10.  Armindo Araujo      Portugal Mini   + 3m30.2s
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