Citroen has confirmed that Sebastien Loeb will be able to re-start on Saturday under the SupeRally format after he was forced out today in Poland following an off in SS4 - the 33.17 kilometre Paprotki 1 test.

Loeb, who had been running second, just 0.3 seconds behind Mikko Hirvonen, went out when he clouted a tree stump near the start of the test, only the third stage of the day. The impact damaged the suspension on his Citroen C4 WRC and ripped off a front wheel.

It was his second crash in as many events following his one in Greece two weeks ago and after losing third in Sardinia too - when he was handed a time penalty for a seat belt violation - another blow to his championship hopes.

"There was a tree stump on our line and we hit it," the five-time world champion told Citroen's official website.

"It wasn't in our pacenotes, and neither Dani Sordo nor S?bastien Ogier had noted it either. You can't see it on the video. It's just bad luck.

"It's often said in France that you never get two in a row, without a third, and today's incident is our third setback in succession. We will now rejoin tomorrow thanks to the SupeRally ruling, but with a 20-minute penalty.

"It's obviously not all that stimulating a prospect but we've still got a chance to pick up some Manufacturers' points."

As for the drivers' championship, Loeb was philosophical about potentially losing the lead, something that is likely, should Hirvonen win and take the maximum ten point haul.

"We had a seven point lead [coming into this event] and now we will maybe be three behind Mikko. That is it. It is still close. Everything is possible for the end of the championship," he added.

For the record, Loeb will re-join on Saturday just outside the top-30 - 19 minutes 54.6 seconds off Hirvonen in P1, 17 minutes off Conrad Rautenbach in eighth and over 15 minutes off a place in the top ten.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment