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Turkey - day 1: Ford trio hand Loeb lead.

Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb leads the Rally of Turkey at the end of day one, but only after his main rivals purposely eased off in the final test.

Loeb, who was quickest in the super special on Thursday night, was up against it this morning and running first on the road - a 'privilege' that goes to the championship leader - he lost time as he had to sweep away the loose gravel. Consequently he finished the opening loop in fifth, having been tenth fastest in Perge 1, sixth in Myra 1 and fourth in Kumluca 1.

On the repeat run through the Frenchman was less disadvantaged and although he was only sixth quickest in SS5, he was third and first fastest in the two subsequent stages to haul himself up to third.

In the final loop he initially dropped back to fourth, but with Ford's Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala and Gigi Galli all easing off in Phaselis 1 - SS9, he found himself handed P1, something that means he will again have to play the road sweeper on day two.

"I would have done exactly the same thing if I had been them," said Seb. "But it doesn't matter. Tomorrow's leg is shorter, so being first on the road should be less of a disadvantage.

"We won't have so much 'road-sweeping' to do. It promises to be very close, but we will do everything in our power to defend our lead!"

Henning Solberg meanwhile finished up second, just one second behind Loeb, after topping the times in the final stage. He had overheating problems on the first loop and dust issues in the afternoon, but was still pretty pleased.

"It's been a hard day as the stages have been tough and I have been in a battle for most of the day," he added. "We lost some time with our problem earlier and the dust getting into the car effected my concentration but it's been a fantastic finish to the day getting a fastest stage time."

Jari-Matti Latvala completes the top three and while he lost time with a puncture in SS2 and SS7, he was right up at the top of the leader-board for much of the day, setting the pace in SS3 and SS6. In the end he finished up 1.1 seconds off the lead having slowed at the end of SS9.



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