Loeb takes early lead in Germany

Sebastien Loeb dominated the opening stages of the Rally Germany, but his team-mate Daniel Sordo is keeping the championship leader honest

Loeb takes early lead in Germany

Kronos Citroen have taken a clean sweep of the four stages on the damp opening loop, with Loeb winning stages one and three, and Sordo fastest in SS2 and SS4.

But while Sordo's margins over the competition were relatively slight, Loeb's pace in SS1 and SS3 left the rest trailing.

That leaves Loeb 20.1 seconds ahead of Sordo, who is driving a 2006-specification Citroen for the first time, as they head for lunchtime service.

Petter Solberg made the start despite his heavy crash in yesterday's shakedown. He began the morning well with second place after SS1, but has since slipped back to fourth, behind Marcus Gronholm, who went off "about four times" during the opening stage.

Manfred Stohl's OMV Peugeot and Toni Gardemeister's 2002-vintage Citroen complete the top six.

Leading positions after SS4:

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Loeb Citroen 40:23.8 2. Sordo Citroen + 20.1 3. Gronholm Ford + 35.8 4. P Solberg Subaru + 40.1 5. Stohl Peugeot + 51.1 6. Gardemeister Citroen + 52.1 7. Aigner Skoda + 59.4 8. Duval Skoda + 1:00.2 9. Atkinson Subaru + 1:23.8 10. Kopecky Skoda + 1:24.4 11. Sarrazin Subaru + 1:29.3 12. Pons Citroen + 1:39.1 13. Tsjoen Ford + 1:41.2 14. Hirvonen Ford + 2:04.5 15. Ekstrom Skoda + 2:15.8 16. Kahle Skoda + 2:21.7 17. Poulsen Toyota + 2:33.2 18. MacHale Ford + 2:50.4 19. Wevers Toyota + 3:28.8 20. Casier Renault + 4:19.6 

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