Loeb Maintains Lead Despite Spin

Even a spin on the first stage of Leg Two could not stop Sebastien Loeb and Citroen's domination of the Rally Deutschland

Loeb Maintains Lead Despite Spin

The Frenchman had a minor spin during SS7, the first stage of the day, but recovered to take two stage wins from the two stages run so far today.

Francois Duval, second overnight, lost ground to his Citroen teammate over the two stages. The Belgian lost more than 17 seconds to Loeb through SS7 after stalling at the start of the stage. He also suffered a small brake fire after the stage end, but he recovered on SS8 and finished just 1.1 seconds off Loeb. He is now 29.9 seocnds overall behind the Frenchman.

Marcus Gronholm continued to hold third but again lost time to his Citroen rivals. He was impressively only 1.6 seconds off Loeb's time through SS8, however he still has nearly a minute and a half to find if he is to take the lead.

Gronholm's Peugeot teammate Marko Martin moved up to fourth after overtaking Ford driver Roman Kresta, and benefiting from problems that befell overnight fourth and fifth place holders Petter Solberg and Toni Gardemeister.

Solberg suffered gear selection problems and had to complete SS8, the 29.56km stage of Panzerplatte 1, in just third gear. The Norwegian lost more than two minutes to Loeb through the test and dropped to 12th. With the drama, Solberg had also been nine minutes late to start the stage, earning him one minute and 30 seconds in time penalties.

Solberg said: "It has been difficult. We just had third gear. I was loosing time all the way, we got into third before the stage start but we were worried we wouldn't have nay drive at all."

Toni Gardemeister lost even more time after his electronics failed, stranding him out on SS8. He managed to get going again, but not before having lost more than 21 minutes to Loeb.

"We lost the electricity in the car, everything just went," said Gardemeister.

Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli has moved up to fifth ahead of Daniel Sola's Ford. Kresta fell to seventh after loosing minute to Loeb on SS8. Skoda's Armin Schwarz, who announced his retirement at the end of the season on this event, is in eighth.

Subaru's Stephane Sarrazin secured the second fastest time through SS7, and has moved up to eleventh after yesterday's problems.

Top 20 leaderboard after SS8:

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Loeb Citroen 1h 39:40.8 2. Duval Citroen + 29.9 3. Gronholm Peugeot + 1:25.9 4. Martin Peugeot + 3:07.8 5. Galli Mitsubishi + 3:27.3 6. Sola Ford + 3:49.0 7. Kresta Ford + 4:10.9 8. Schwarz Skoda + 5:31.2 9. Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 5:41.5 10. Pons Citroen + 5:52.2 11. Sarrazin Subaru + 6:20.2 12. Solberg Subaru + 6:22.9 13. Kopecky Skoda + 6:28.1 14. Atkinson Subaru + 7:48.5 15. Sordo Citroen + 10:36.4 16. Meeke Citroen + 10:51.3 17. Andersson Suzuki + 13:42.7 18. Wilks Suzuki + 13:59.6 19. Katajamaki Suzuki + 13:59.8 20. Gassner Mitsubishi + 14:05.1 
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Loeb Leads as Citroen Dominate

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Tim Redmayne
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