Germany - day 1: Loeb builds solid lead.

Sordo for his part complained about his tyre choice this morning and in the afternoon - but with two second quickest times, one fourth and two thirds his pace was still very impressive.

"I gradually started to find my marks on asphalt again. I made a few small adjustments to my set-up between stages to try to adapt it as closely as possible to the conditions. It would have been nice to have felt a little more comfortable with the soft compound tyres, but I know where I lost time," added the Spaniard.

Further down the order Francois Duval is fourth on his first outing in the WRC since the Rallye Monte Carlo way back in January. The Belgian was fourth quickest in SS1, seventh in SS2 and third in SS3, his only real complaint on the first loop a slight delay in the electronic gear shift.

He was then second quickest in SS4 and fourth in SS5 and finally ended the day 13.1 seconds off the battle for third and 17 seconds up on Jari-Matti Latvala in P5.

"I'm still getting used to the car and these new soft Pirellis but we made some changes to the setup of the car for this afternoon's stages and this seemed to work better,” he stated. “Hopefully we can continue this into tomorrow.”

Latvala jumped up from seventh to fifth in SS5, when he was around 10 seconds faster than both the Subaru's of Chris Atkinson and Petter Solberg. Jari opted for a cautious start eager to gain experience on asphalt and get good points after his early error in Finland.

"I had a lot more confidence this afternoon with the harder springs. A top five position was my target tonight. I want to maintain that tomorrow because I know it will be difficult to catch the guys ahead,” noted Jari.

Petter is next up, 5.2 seconds further back, and while he was disappointed to see SS6 canned, he agreed it was a sensible decision.

“It's a shame about the final stage, but you have to respect the decision of the organisers and accept that it was the right thing to do. It's too bad for the people who are actually coming to watch the stages, but that's a part of the game,” stated the Norwegian. “It's unbelievable the number of people here, like Finland, and it's great for the sport anyway."

Atkinson was one of only three drivers' to complete SS6 competitively and the Aussie will have wished he would have missed it as an error when he overshot a junction cost him 30 seconds and a place on the leaderboad.

He now lies just 2.2 seconds up on Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and 33.1 seconds off 'Hollywood'.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebatien Loeb(FRA) Daniel Elena(MC) Citroen C4, Citroen Total WRT
Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA) Citroen DS3 R5
Karl Kruuda (EST) - Martin Jarveoja (EST) Ford Fiesta R5, Drive Dmack Trophy Team
Yoann Bonato (FRA) - Denis Giraudet (FRA) Citroen DS3 R5
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)-Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, FWRT
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)-Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, FWRT
Quentin Gilbert  (FRA) - Renaud Jamoul (BEL) Citroen DS3 R5
Teemu Suninen (FIN) - Mikko Markkula (FIN) Skoda Fabia R5, Team Oreca
Marcos Sebastián Ligato (ARG) - Rubén Francisco Garcia (ARG) Citroen DS3 WRC
Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) Crhis Patterson (GBR), Citroen DS3 WRC, Abu Dhabi Total WRT
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Motorsport II
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Motorsport II
Craig Breen (IRE) - Scott Martin (GBR) Citroen DS3 WRC, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team
Kris Meeke (GBR)-Paul Nagle (IRL) Citroen DS3 WRC, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team
Mads Ostberg (NOR) - Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
Mads Ostberg (NOR) - Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team

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