Citroen team leader, Sebastien Loeb has branded his performance during the opening leg of the Rallye Deutschland Friday 'practically' perfect.

The Frenchman, who was fastest through five of the day's six tests, ended leg 1 11.7 seconds up on his team-mate, Francois Duval, as he bids to further cement his position at the top of the drivers' championship and clinch the title for the second year running. Loeb though, who was pushed hard all day by Duval, who grabbed the lead following SS3, added that the Belgian's form did not surprise him.

"It's practically been a perfect day. It's been a good fight and there are two Citroens in front. I am not surprised by the times of Francois though," he confirmed. "He was my biggest challenger here last year and, if he hadn't had a clutch problem on SS4, it would have been an even closer run thing between the two of us."

As for the rest of his rivals though, Loeb did admit that he was somewhat shocked they are so far back - Marcus Gronholm 'best of the rest' in third place, 1 minute 11.5 seconds off the lead.

"I'm pleasantly surprised by the gap we have pulled out, even over Marcus who is always quick here," continued Loeb.

"I want to thank our technical team and our partner Michelin. I really have an excellent feeling with the car. We will simply adapt the set-up for tomorrow's stages which are run over a different sort of terrain."



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