Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb has insisted that he can't afford to relax yet on the Rallye Deutschland, despite a dominant performance on the opening day of the event.

Loeb took the lead from the off this morning and then proceeded to win all six stages to end the leg almost 20 seconds up on his closest challenger, BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen.

Speaking in service B though, the Frenchman remained cautious, particularly as tomorrow's leg is the longest and most gruelling of the event, including the Arena Panzerplatte stage, which runs for 30 kilometres along the cracked, dirty and abrasive concrete of the Baumholder military range.

"I immediately felt comfortable with my car today and I was able to push hard from the outset," reflected the four-time world champion. "By choosing the soft compound Pirelli tyre, I knew I would have to adapt my driving style and be on my guard all the time, especially where there were changes in the amount of grip available. It also gave my confidence a big boost, though, and I made the most of that to pull out an early gap.

"On dry asphalt, it's not easy to build up big leads, so I was naturally pleased to see that we were 15.3 seconds clear at the end of the first loop. [In the afternoon] I decided to keep the same set-up as this morning and stay on soft rubber, and that paid off. Running on soft tyres over roads soiled by the first pass, we were able to make the most of our C4's potential to increase our lead.

"It's been a very positive day, but a gap of 19.9s isn't yet sufficient to start thinking in terms of controlling from in front. I have an excellent feeling with my car and that will be important for tomorrow's tough, long leg."

Citroen boss Olivier Quesnel meanwhile is delighted to see 'his man' is on course to win in Germany for the seventh year in succession.

He was also happy to see Dani Sordo finish proceedings in third in the sister C4 WRC.

"Everyone at Citro?n Sport did a splendid job today. Everyone has been saying that we are the favourites here, but we knew it wouldn't be easy," Quesnel added. "S?bastien and Daniel [Elena] have once again shown that this is one of their favourite hunting grounds and they put in an impeccable performance today to build up a handy cushion.

"Dani and Marc [Marti] spent some time looking for the ideal set-up and are third this evening with a real chance of improving on that tomorrow. We are aware that nothing is by any means over yet, though. Saturday's leg is very long and could cause some surprises."