Four stage wins and two stage seconds saw Sebastien Loeb dominate the first day's action of the Sanremo Rally, finishing as overall leader in his Citro?n Xsara WRC, 32.4 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Markko Martin.

"It's going to be a hot battle between Markko and I," said Loeb. "It seems he's on a mission, so I have to concentrate to keep a good pace.

"I'm very pleased to be out in front and very satisfied with the set up of the Xsara, so I'm hopeful for more of the same tomorrow."

Consistently good performances from team-mates Carlos Sainz [fourth] and Colin McRae [seventh] ensured overall top seven standings for all Citroen Xsara WRC team members, proving once again the competitiveness of the car, especially on asphalt.

The fourth Citroen Xsara WRC to appear in the rally, driven by Philippe Bugalski and run by Piedrafita Sport also finished in the top ten - ninth overall, well-placed to move up the leader-board over the next two days.



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