Rally Sweden: Sebastien Loeb takes early lead

Sebastien Loeb claimed the early Rally Sweden lead by winning the Karlstad superspecial on Thursday night

Rally Sweden: Sebastien Loeb takes early lead

At the start of the second of his four appearances in his World Rally Championship swansong year, Loeb set the pace by half a second for Citroen.

Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala and Qatar M-Sport Ford driver Evgeny Novikov set equal second-fastest times, with Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg tied for fourth.

Qualifying pacesetter Sebastien Ogier was in a head-to-head with Loeb, but lost 2.5s in an impact with a snow bank.

Long-time stage leader Jarkko Nikara ended up eighth on his return with a Prodrive-prepared Mini, just ahead of the delayed Ogier.

Fellow returnees Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson were 10th and 13th. Solberg did a late deal to use a spare M-Sport Ford, while Wilson is standing in for the unwell Nasser Al-Attiyah in the main Qatar M-Sport line-up.

After setting a sensational fourth-fastest time in qualifying, WRC Academy graduate Pontus Tidemand was 14th in his privately-entered Ford.

Leading times after superspecial: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h34m52s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 0.5s 3. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport Ford + 0.5s 4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport Ford + 0.7s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 0.7s 6. Thierry Neuville Qatar M-Sport Ford + 1.7s 7. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1.9s 8. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive Mini + 2.0s 9. Sebastien Ogier VW + 2.5s 10. Henning Solberg M-Sport Ford + 2.6s 
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Let it snow: WRC magic in Sweden

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Matt Beer
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