Loeb leads eventful opening loop

Sebastien Loeb leads in Sardinia after an eventful opening morning, despite the Citroen driver running first on the road

Loeb leads eventful opening loop

Loeb found the slippery surface tough on the first stage and was only eighth, but made great progress thereafter, and moved ahead of Mikko Hirvonen's Ford to take the lead on SS4 Monte Grighini Sud.

Hirvonen admitted that it "looks like Sebastien found another gear" and is now 2.7 seconds behind the world champion heading to the midday remote service.

The big news behind the lead battle was the performance of the new Mini in Kris Meeke's hands. On the car's debut, Meeke got up to fourth place by the end of SS2, before a suspected technical problem resulted in him hitting a rock on the next stage. Dani Sordo holds eighth in the sister car.

Jari-Matti Latvala has already retired the second Ford. He tipped the car on its side in an SS1 accident, consequences of which forced him to park during SS2.

"Unfortunately [co-driver] Miikka [Anttila] did a mistake - he called a wrong note," said Latvala. "But we have done so many rallies together and it was the first time."

Petter Solberg had led at first, before a turbo pipe problem on SS2 cost him 40s. He was already begun regaining the lost ground and is up to sixth in the Solberg Citroen.

Evgeny Novikov holds an excellent third, just ahead of his Stobart team-mate Mads Ostberg. Both had trailed fellow Stobart man P-G Andersson as the one-off returnee held third early on, but Andersson had to stop and change a steering arm after a brush with a rock, which cost him 16 minutes.

Sebastien Ogier is an unusually muted fifth at present.

"It's difficult for me to get a good rhythm," he said. "In some parts I was cautious for sure, but in other parts I tried and could not get a rhythm. It's okay - we are still in the race, that's most important."

Leading positions after SS4: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 44m35.2s 2. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 2.7s 3. Evgeny Novikov Stobart Ford + 11.9s 4. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 19.8s 5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 20.8s 6. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 26.3s 7. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 42.4s 8. Dani Sordo Mini + 45.5s 9. Ott Tanak MM Ford + 1m02.2s 10. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 1m11.2s 
shares
comments
VW attracted by road car significance
Previous article

VW attracted by road car significance

Next article

Mini happy despite Meeke's problem

Mini happy despite Meeke's problem
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021