"The service has always been very good and this morning we received confident advice that there would be no rain. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and our tyres were totally wrong for the cold, damp conditions," he said.
Further down the order, Per-Gunnar Andersson lies seventh, albeit 1 minute 20.9 seconds adrift on his debut outing with the Stobart
Ford team. Frigyes Turan is eighth, just 9.9 seconds back in his Peugeot 307 WRC, followed by Britain's Matthew Wilson
and Henning Solberg's Ford Fiesta S2000.
"I'm really disappointed that the last stage was cancelled this morning as I'm sure I would have got a good time," said P-G. "The first stage was really slippery but was more abrasive about half way through which suited us better – we definitely made the wrong tyre choice though.
"I felt like everything was running much more smoothly in the second stage and managed to pick up the pace. I think we'll keep things the same for this afternoon's stages though but I'm just praying that the rain stays off."
Wilson added: "We had nothing to lose this morning so opted for the soft compound tyres [unlike my Ford team-mates] which was a good decision considering today's changeable weather conditions. The first stage was damp to start, then got foggy and wet towards the end and I could really feel the change in altitude at the end of the stage.
"We didn't have any more major dramas for the rest of the morning apart from the launch control failing at the start of SS6. The car is going fine and feels like I've got a better balance, the rear definitely isn't as lively as it was yesterday."
F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen incidentally, was able to re-join the fold this morning under the SupeRally, and was fifth and eighth quickest in SS5 and SS6 respectively, to haul himself up from 26th overall to 20th. He had been fourth yesterday prior to his off in SS4.
In the JWRC, Thierry Neuville now leads in his Citroen
C2 S1600, after overnight leader Mathieu Arzeno lost time on the morning loop and dropped to 5th. Hans Weijs was promoted to second as a result, 51.2 seconds off P1, with Renault men Yeray Lemes and Kevin Abbring third and fourth.
The second leg now concludes with a repeat of run through the morning loop. Following the problems in SS7 though, the schedule is now running about 25-30 minutes late, which means SS8 - Sestrimo 2 - should start around 13.50 hours local time.
Rally Bulgaria: Overall standings after Stage 7 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Loeb
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 1hour 32mins 21.2secs
2. Dani Sordo
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 30.0secs
3. Petter Solberg
C4 WRC +00mins 56.8secs
4. Sebastien Ogier
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +01mins 59.9secs
5. Mikko Hirvonen
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +02mins 32.1secs
6. Jari-Matti Latvala
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +02mins 40.2secs
7. Per-Gunnar Andersson Stobart
Ford Focus WRC +04mins 01.1secs
8. Frigyes Turan
Peugeot 307 WRC +04mins 11.0secs
9. Matthew Wilson
Stobart Ford Focus WRC +05mins 42.0secs
10. Henning Solberg
Stobart Ford Fiesta S2000 +07mins 41.2secs
20. Kimi Raikkonen
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +12mins 07.3secs
JWRC Standings after Stage 7 (Top 3):
1. Thierry Neuville
Citroen C2 S1600 1hour 40mins 30.0secs
2. Hans Weijs
Citroen C2 S1600 +00mins 51.2secs
3. Yeray Lemes
Renault C2 S16000 +01mins 33.3secs
SS4. Kimi Raikkonen
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC Crashed
* denotes elected/able to re-start under SupeRally.
all times unofficial