Loeb takes lead on Rally Argentina, Ogier suffers off

Sebastien Loeb holds P1 at the end of SS7, 8.9 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen; Sebastien Ogier has dropped down to third after an off; Jari-Matti Latvala and Evgeny Novikov remain fourth and fifth respectively...
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb now heads the pack on Rally Argentina, after overnight leader, Sebastien Ogier went off in SS7 and lost more than 40 seconds.

Loeb began the second leg 16.3 seconds adrift of his former team-mate, and in the opening stage, which was very wet and muddy, following overnight rain, he conceded another 1.4 seconds after a mistake near the end.

The nine WRC champion also ran wide in the next test too, but Ogier had bigger issues and about halfway through he went straight on at a corner, losing more than 40 seconds.

“We went straight on at a long corner,” Ogier confirmed to WRC Live. “The road tightened but we understeered on to mud and had to reverse out. The handbrake didn't work again to save me.”

Loeb thus moves up into P1 and heads back for the mid-day service with an 8.9 second advantage over team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in second. Ogier is now third, 17.4 seconds further back in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC.

“I went wide [in SS7] like I did on the earlier stage [SS6] but this time it cost me only about one second,” Loeb remarked. "It's tricky - very fast, the grip is good then suddenly it's gone.”

Hirvonen also admitted to having had a few close shaves: “The start [of SS6] was really good but [then] I had a couple of moments on muddy corners and watersplashes and lost time,” the Finn reported. "I also went off [in SS7] and hit a rock with the right-hand rear wheel. There was a strange sound but we were lucky, I don't think it cost us too much...”

Behind, Jari-Matti Latvala is fourth and said he was taking it cautiously, given the mud and fog.

Evgeny Novikov lies in a distant fifth for the Qatar M-Sport WRT, almost two minutes off the lead and over a minute off Latvala.

“There was quite a lot of fog this morning and in some corners it was a bit damp, but generally it was OK," said Novikov. "I was not pushing 100 per cent, but we've got a really good rhythm at the moment so we'll just continue like that this afternoon. Of course I'm always looking to be higher [in the overall standings] than fifth, but I think that we have done a good job this morning.”

Related Pictures

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Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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