Montalegre World Rallycross: Sebastien Loeb leads for Peugeot

Sebastien Loeb holds the overnight lead in the World Rallycross Championship's Portuguese round at Montalegre after a strong day for Peugeot

Montalegre World Rallycross: Sebastien Loeb leads for Peugeot

Loeb stopped the clocks first in Q1, beating the previous best time set by Mattias Ekstrom by two tenths of a second, before team-mate Timmy Hansen then beat Petter Solberg to race victory with a mixed joker lap strategy in Q2.

As he had in Q1, Loeb won the last race of the Q2 session but the time wasn't enough to take a day one clean sweep as he missed his team-mate's benchmark by 0.034 seconds.

The Peugeot pair hold the top two positions overnight, with Ekstrom, who beat Hansen in Q1 and was third fastest in Q2, in third.

Ekstrom took his joker lap at the first opportunity in the final race of Q2, door-handling with Johan Kristoffersson at the joker entry - which meant the reigning World RX champion nearly lost track position to Guerlain Chicherit's Renault behind.

Kristoffersson had won his Q1 race, passing a fast-starting Jerome Grosset-Janin in the GCK Renault Megane at the first corner, and been third fastest overall in that part of the qualifying heats.

Finishing a second behind Ekstrom in their Q2 race on track, championship leader Kristoffersson was sixth fastest in Q2 and fourth at the end of day one, two places up on his PSRX Volkswagen team-mate Petter Solberg.

Solberg had won the very first race of the event but with the loose sand-like circuit cleaning with every lap, his overall time was only good enough for 10th fastest.

The Norwegian made the best start from the outside of the grid in his Q2 race then elected to immediately take his joker - the low risk option rather than crossing the track to the inside to make the Turn 1 apex. But he soon caught the pack ahead and was unable to make more ground.

Chicherit had a strong day in the Prodrive-built Megane RS RX; fourth in Q1 and 11th in Q2 puts the Frenchman eighth overnight, behind round one finalist Niclas Gronholm in seventh.

SPEEDMACHINE - The British round of the WRX comes to Silverstone on May 25-27. To book your tickets visit www.speedmachine.com. For a limited time only get discounts on adult tickets using the codes SMW10 for weekends, SSMSAT10 for Saturday and SMSUN for Sunday

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About this article

Series World Rallycross
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Hal Ridge
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