Loeb Leads as Citroen Dominate

Sebastien Loeb took control of the Rally Deutschland at the end of Leg One, as Citroen stamped their authority on the event

Loeb Leads as Citroen Dominate

Loeb and teammate Francois Duval are more than a minute ahead of their nearest rivals on the event, and it looks like the pair will battle it out for victory alone.

After Duval had taken a surprise lead at lunch, Loeb reasserted his authority over his teammate, and stretched out a 11.7-second margin. Duval lost the lead and a chunk of time to Loeb after he stalled on the startline of SS4, but he was still quick enough for the second fastest time on the stage.

If Loeb holds onto the lead, he will take his eighth victory of the season and move closer to securing his second WRC crown. If Duval can claw back the advantage he would take his first ever WRC victory, and go a long way to justifying the faith shown in him by the Citroen team in reinstating him to the team after he was dropped earlier in the season.

The second running of this morning's stages were drier and as a result produced faster times. The Citroen pair finished 1-2 on all six stages of the day.

Marcus Gronholm continued to lose time in the afternoon's stages to the Citroen pair and has given up hope of finishing any higher than third. He is alone in third place with Subaru's Petter Solberg continuing to hold fourth.

Toni Gardemeister overtook his teammate Roman Kresta on SS5 for fifth after the Czech driver had an off through the German vineyards on SS4.  Gardemeister has got the gap down to Solberg to just six seconds and will the scrap for fourth will be one of the battles to watch on Leg Two.

Markko Martin, who had lost time after hitting a wall and causing a puncture on SS3, recovered to overtake Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli for seventh on SS4.

It was worse for second Subaru driver Stephane Sarrazin, after the Frenchman ran wide at the first corner of SS5 and spun off the road. The Impreza became beached and had to be pushed back onto the road by spectators and he lost more two minutes. He ended the leg in 14th.

One place lower was his Subaru teammate Chris Atkinson, whose turbo boost problems were fixed during service and despite stalling at one hairpin, worked his way up to 15th.

Results after Leg 1:

Pos Driver Make Time  1. Loeb Citroen 1:09:54.0 2. Duval Citroen + 11.7 3. Gronholm Peugeot + 1:11.5 4. Solberg Subaru + 2:25.1 5. Gardemeister Ford + 2:31.0 6. Kresta Ford + 2:37.2 7. Martin Peugeot + 2:44.5 8. Galli Mitsubishi + 2:51.5 9. Schwarz Skoda + 3:33.6 10. Sola Ford + 3:33.8 11. Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 4:06.6 12. Pons Citroen + 4:35.9 13. Kopecky Skoda + 5:07.3 14. Sarrazin Subaru + 5:40.4 15. Atkinson Subaru + 6:23.4 16. Vojtech Peugeot + 6:26.5 17. Sordo Citroen + 7:51.1 18. Meeke Citroen + 8:07.7 19. Wilks Suzuki + 8:36.6 20. Casier Peugeot + 9:30.0 All Timing Unofficial 

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