Championship protagonists Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen set the joint quickest time on Thursday morning in the shakedown for Rally Poland, the eighth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.

Loeb and Hirvonen both completed the 3.8 kilometre test stage in Mikolajki, 3.4 kilometres from the service area, in 2 minutes 13.5 seconds, 1 second up on Jari-Matti Latvala, who was 'best of the rest'.

Loeb set his fastest effort on his first of four runs through the test, with Mikko matching him on his third and final dash.

Evgeny Novikov meanwhile was fourth, 0.5 seconds further back in his Citroen Junior Team-run C4 WRC, while Petter Solberg completed the top five.

Further down the order, Dani Sordo came in sixth, followed by Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg. Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier rounded out the top ten, with Conrad Rautenbach eleventh, Mads Ostberg twelfth and local favourite, 1997 European Rally champion, Krzysztof Holowczyc 13th. Holowczyc, who is making a guest appearance with the Stobart Ford team this weekend, opted for five runs.

Rally Poland now gets underway later on today with SS1, the short 2.50 kilometre super special in Mikolajki, starting at 20.00 hours.

The action then begins 'proper' on Friday with six stages on the bill, totalling around 113 competitive kilometres. SS2, the 12.09 kilometre run through Grabowka 1, begins at 09.51 hours [all times local].

Leading shakedown times:

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2mins 13.5secs M
= Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 13.5secs M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 14.5secs M
4. Evgeny Novikov Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 2mins 15.0secs MT
5. Petter Solberg PS WRT Citroen Xsara WRC 2mins 15.2secs A8
6. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2mins 15.8secs M
7. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 2mins 17.5secs MT
8. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 2mins 17.7secs MT
9. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda Fabia WRC 2mins 19.4secs A8
10. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 2mins 19.7secs A8
11. Conrad Rautenbach Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 2mins 19.9secs MT
12. Mads Ostberg Adapta Subaru Impreza WRC2008 2mins 21.4secs A8
13. Krzysztof Holowczyc Ford Focus RS WRC 2mins 22.4secs A8
14. Kevin Abbring Renault Clio RS R3 2mins 47.7secs J
15. Martin Prokop Citroen C2 S1600 2mins 48.6secs J

M - denotes Manufacturer entry.
MT - denotes Manufacturer Team entry.
J - denotes Junior WRC entry.

all times unofficial

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