Day 1: Loeb brushes off Martin's challenge

Sebastien Loeb dominated the first day of the Sanremo Rally despite the best efforts of Markko Martin. The Ford star put on a charge in the afternoon to move up to second overall, but any thoughts of challenging for the lead were quickly dismissed when Loeb set a stunning time on the final stage of the day to increase his lead to over 30 seconds

Day 1: Loeb brushes off Martin's challenge

Martin was in fourth position after the first three stages this morning, but had signaled his potential with the fastest time on SS3. He repeated the feat on SS4, with a time fast enough to move him ahead of Marcus Gronholm and team-mate Francois Duval into second overall, although he only took 1.2s out of Loeb's lead.

Citroen star Loeb quickly responded to Martin's challenge, going fastest on SS5 - although his time was just 0.5s faster than the Ford. But Loeb stamped his authority on the rally on the final stage of the day, going 10.4s quicker than Martin to increase his overnight lead to 32.4s.

Despite dropping down from second, reigning champion Marcus Gronholm has continued his solid run. The Finn was third fastest behind the two leaders on both of the day's final stages, and has built a comfortable margin over those behind him.

Carlos Sainz was another to move up the leaderboard throughout the afternoon. While never challenging for ultimate speed, the Spaniard was supremely consistent, allowing him to climb to fourth ahead of Francois Duval and Gilles Panizzi, both of whom had comparatively slow runs through SS6.

Colin McRae remains in seventh in the third Citroen, 12.3s down on Panizzi and finishing the day just over 20s ahead of Petter Solberg. However, misfortune befell the Subaru star on his way back to service when he ran dry of petrol, forcing him into retirement. This promoted his team-mate Tommi Makinen into the final pints scoring position.

Championship leader Richard Burns continues to struggle. Although the Briton has moved up to 9th overall, he lost significant amounts of time to the leaders on each of the three stages, most significantly on SS6, when he dropped 1m04.8s to event leader Loeb. He is now 3m05.2s off the lead.

shares
comments
Drivers petition to keep gravel crews

Previous article

Drivers petition to keep gravel crews

Next article

Day 2am: Martin hit by penalty

Day 2am: Martin hit by penalty
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021