Loeb overhauls Solberg

Citroen ace Sebastien Loeb leaves his rivals trailing and with four stage wins in succession seizes the top spot in Mexico.
Sebastien Loeb has charged into the lead on the Rally Mexico this morning with a dominant display in his Citroen C4 WRC car.

Loeb, who was third at the end of day one on Friday, moved in front of overnight leader Petter Solberg in the second test today. The Frenchman was in great form and set the pace in all four stages.

He eventually returned to Leon for the mid-day service with a very solid 17.8 second lead.

Solberg meanwhile struggled running first on the road and was only fifth in SS10, 16.7 seconds off the pace. The Norwegian then lost another 15.9 seconds in SS11 and a further 11.4 seconds in SS12. He eventually ended the loop with Sebastien Ogier snapping at his heels, 2.2 seconds adrift.

Outside of the top three, BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen now lie fourth and fifth respectively, with Henning Solberg sixth for the Stobart Ford team. All three are within 20 seconds of each other, but disappointingly they are also a good minute off the battle for second.

Federico Villagra is seventh, albeit 5 minutes further back, while SWRC leader, Martin Prokop is eighth. Xavier Pons and Armindo Araujo complete the top ten - the latter still on course for the PWRC victory.

In terms of retirements, the opening stage, the 29.90 kilometre-run through Ibarrilla 1, was the most dramatic. Dani Sordo, who had been running fourth, was forced to stop with suspension problems, while Matt Wilson and Ken Block also had problems. Wilson went off the road, while Block, like Sordo, was stopped by suspension damage.

The action now continues at 12.52 hours local time [18.52 hours UK time], with a repeat of the Ibarrilla, Duarte and Derramadero tests. The leg then ends with another two runs through the 2.21 km Super Special.

Overall standings after SS13 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 02hous 15mins 54.8secs M
2. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 17.8secs A8
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 19.9secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 20.7secs M
5. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +01mins 31.0secs M
6. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +01mins 42.2secs M
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +06mins 33.4secs M
8. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 01.7secs S
9. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 22.4secs S
10. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +12mins 31.7secs P

SWRC Standings after SS13 (Top 3):

1. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 02hours 27mins 56.5secs S
2. Xavier Pons Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 20.7secs S
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah Skoda Fabia S2000 +01mins 38.4secs S

PWRC Standings after SS13 (Top 3):

1. Armindo Araujo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 02hours 28mins 26.5secs P
2. Toshi Arai Subaru Impreza Sti N15 +03mins 53.4secs P
3. Miguel Angel Baldoni Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +05mins 15.7secs P

Notable retirements:

SS7. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC Rolled M

SS10. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC Suspension M#
SS10. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC Went off M#
SS10. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Focus WRC Suspension A8#

# denotes may re-join on Sunday under SupeRally.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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Nanbawan - Unregistered

March 07, 2010 12:04 AM

Well, he won't have the same car next year... I don't see him switching brands. He made Citroen in WRC and Citroen made him. Both parties went together in the sport, it's not as if he joined an established team.

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