Rally France: Sebastien Loeb takes control

Sebastien Loeb began to pull away from the field as day one of his home World Rally Championship round came to an end

Rally France: Sebastien Loeb takes control

Having been kept on his toes by Jari-Matti Latvala in the morning, Loeb immediately doubled his lead with a commanding win on Hohlandsburg-Firstplan.

Latvala still managed to go fastest on two of the afternoon's four stages, but the Ford driver's margins of victory were smaller, and he completed leg one in France 13.1 seconds down on his Citroen foe.

Mikko Hirvonen, the only man who still stands a remote chance of denying team-mate Loeb the 2012 title, is now just over half a minute off the lead in third.

Hirvonen is only 0.7s ahead of Petter Solberg's Ford as the Norwegian picked up his pace in the afternoon and started chasing a podium.

Citroen Junior's Thierry Neuville had been Hirvonen's biggest threat in the morning, but a spin on the afternoon's first stage dropped him to seventh.

Neuville spent the rest of the day trying to take sixth back from Dani Sordo's Mini, closing to within a second only to lose time with another spin on Mulhouse. He still stayed ahead of seventh-placed Mads Ostberg.

Rising French star Sebastien Chardonnet has now passed Chris Atkinson for 10th place on his first run in a Citroen World Rally Car.

Mini-driving circuit racing guests Romain Dumas and Yvan Muller hold 19th and 20th positions respectively.

Leading positions after SS8: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h17m32.6s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 13.1s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 32.6s 4. Petter Solberg Ford + 33.3s 5. Dani Sordo Prodrive Mini + 48.8s 6. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 55.4s 7. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 1m00.3s 8. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1m22.4s 9. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m35.9s 10. Sebastien Chardonnet FFSA Citroen + 2m51.0s 
shares
comments
Rally France: Loeb under pressure from Latvala

Previous article

Rally France: Loeb under pressure from Latvala

Next article

Rally France: Jari-Matti Latvala hails 'best ever' asphalt drive

Rally France: Jari-Matti Latvala hails 'best ever' asphalt drive
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Matt Beer
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021