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

WRC legend Sebastien Loeb takes Dakar Rally lead on second stage

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."

ANALYSIS: Why is Loeb doing the Dakar?

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:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
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

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First full stage of 2016 Dakar Rally cancelled due to weather

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Sebastien Loeb extends Dakar Rally lead with second stage win

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