Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has won SS5, the opening test of leg 2, to further extend his lead on the Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, by another 5.1 seconds.

Intermittent frost and damp patches characterised the opening 32km twisty stage of Leg two [SS5].

A reverse run of SS3/4, the test included a series of tight hairpins, short straights and three cols, the highest of which peaked 1,300 metres above sea level.

Loeb was fastest, with team-mate Francois Duval second quickest, Toni Gardemeister third and Gilles Panizzi fourth.

Petter Solberg was joint fifth in his Subaru Impreza WRC2004, with Roman Kresta, while his new team-mate, race graduate Stephane Sarrazin, felt his ice notes were too cautious. Competing in the specialist event for the first time of his career, the Frenchman suffered a spin at the first hairpin, followed by a half-spin further into the test.

"I had a few little problems, a spin on the first hairpin and then another mistake later when I had to reverse to get the car around a corner," he said. "There was a little too much ice in my pace notes, I think they were too cautious."

Once the stage was complete, crews drove a 41km road section back to Monaco for a 30-minute service.

The action now resumes at 11.46 hours local time.



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