Loeb Tops France Shakedown

Sebastien Loeb declared his intent to win his home event for the first time by topping shakedown for this weekend's Rallye de France

Loeb Tops France Shakedown

Loeb drove carefully on last year's event to finish second and secure his first World Rally Championship. However, as the Frenchman secured his second title at the Rally Japan earlier this month, he has vowed to go all out to win the asphalt event.

Lobe drove the short test stage in Margonajo, just outside of the host town of Ajaccio, one and a half seconds quicker than his nearest rival.

Citroen are yet to wrap up the manufacturers' title. However, they could do so this weekend should rivals Peugeot have a poor rallye. Rain is expected for much of this weekend, which could prove as a leveller on the sealed-surface rally.

Peugeot's lead driver Marcus Gronholm was second in the shakedown, with Markko Martin's replacement Nicolas Bernardi in eighth in his first outing in a works 307.

Subaru's Petter Solberg showed he will be strong this weekend with third quickest time, tying with Mitsubishi's leading runner of Gilles Panizzi.

Stephane Sarrazin, driving the second points nominated Impreza on his home event, shined with a joint fifth best time with Ford's Toni Gardemeister.

Rallye de France shakedown times:

Pos  Driver        Make        Time  
 1.  Loeb         (Citroen)    4:22.0
 2.  Gronholm     (Peugeot)    4:23.5
 3.  Solberg      (Subaru)     4:25.2
 =.  Panizzi      (Mitsubishi) 4:25.2
 5.  Gardemeister (Ford)       4:25.4
 =.  Sarrazin     (Subaru)     4:25.4
 7.  Duval        (Citroen)    4:25.9
 8.  Bernardi     (Peugeot)    4:29.0
 9.  Kresta       (Ford)       4:32.3
10.  Schwarz      (Skoda)      4:33.0
11.  Bengue       (Skoda)      4:33.2
12.  Atkinson     (Subaru)     4:34.3
13.  Sola         (Ford)       4:34.4
14.  Galli        (Mitsubishi) 4:35.3
15.  Rovanpera    (Mitsubishi) 4:37.4

All Timing Unofficial

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Tim Redmayne
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