WRC legend Sebastien Loeb takes Dakar Rally lead on second stage
Sebastien Loeb took the lead of his maiden Dakar Rally by winning the first full stage of the 2016 event on Monday
After Sunday's stage was cancelled due to poor weather, continued heavy rain meant the competitive element of Monday's run from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas de Rio Hondo was reduced from the planned 317 miles to 240.
Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb was quickest through every checkpoint and won the stage by 2m23s over Peugeot team-mate and event legend Stephane Peterhansel.
Loeb was stunned by the result as he was among several competitors to get stuck in the course's muddy sections.
"That was quite good news at the end because I didn't believe it," he said.
"I was stuck in the mud at the middle of the stage and was lucky to get out.
"I got stuck for maybe two minutes, something like that.
"At that moment I didn't believe I would get out like I did.
"Finally, I managed to join the field again and resume the stage, but it was really on the limit so I was a bit afraid.
"Apart from that, I had a good stage with no problems, trying to find a good rhythm and it was OK."
While two of the 2008 DKRs moved into first and second overall, another has already hit trouble.
Carlos Sainz lost over 10 minutes when he had to stop with engine problems, dropping him outside the overall top 10.
Also in trouble was 2014 winner Nani Roma, whose X-raid Mini became stuck in a muddy section halfway through the stage, costing him over three quarters of an hour to the leaders. Orlando Terranova and early third-place man Xevi Pons were similarly delayed.
Loeb's long-time WRC rival Mikko Hirvonen ended Monday as X-raid's lead runner in fifth, behind the Toyotas of Vladimir Vasilyev and Giniel de Villiers.
Last year's victor Nasser Al-Attiyah is four minutes off the pace in eighth in the next best Mini after a puncture, trailing the Toyota of Leroy Poulter and the third Peugeot of Cyril Despres.
WRC regular Martin Prokop and prologue pacesetter Bernhard Ten Brinke complete the early top 10.
LEADING POSITIONS AFTER STAGE TWO:
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||3h45m46.s|
|2||Stephane Peterhansel||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||2m23.s|
|3||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||3m01.s|
|4||Mikko Hirvonen||Axion X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||3m05.s|
|5||Leeroy Poulter||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||3m20.s|
|6||Vladimir Vasilyev||G-Energy Team||Toyota||3m38.s|
|7||Cyril Despres||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||5m00.s|
|8||Bernhard Ten Brinke||Overdrive Toyota||Toyota||5m02.s|
|9||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Axion X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||5m18.s|
|10||Martin Prokop||Overdrive Toyota||Toyota||5m25.s|
|11||Emiliano Spataro||Renault Duster Team||Renault||6m48.s|
|12||Erik van Loon||Vanloon Racing||Mini/BMW||7m10.s|
|13||Yazeed Al-Rajhi||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||10m52.s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||11m03.s|
|15||Adam Malysz||Orlen Team||Mini/BMW||12m07.s|
|16||Jakub Przygonski||Orlen Team||Mini/BMW||12m27.s|
|17||Harry Hunt||Axion X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||13m20.s|
|18||Guilherme Spinelli||Mitsubishi Petrobras||Mitsubishi||13m48.s|
|19||Cristobal Nazareno Lopez||Team X-Raid Gmbh||Mini/BMW||16m14.s|
|20||Robby Gordon||Team Speed Energy||HST/Chevrolet||17m37.s|
First full stage of 2016 Dakar Rally cancelled due to weather
Sebastien Loeb extends Dakar Rally lead with second stage win