Loeb tops Rally Sweden shakedown

Sebastien Loeb heads his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo in the shakedown for Rally Sweden; Former Ferrari F1 man Kimi Raikkonen ends proceedings in tenth.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team

Sebastien Loeb set the pace this morning in the shakedown for the Rally Sweden, the opening round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Loeb opted for four runs through the 4 kilometre stage in Hagfors, his best effort a 1 minute 53.4 seconds - 1.4 seconds up on Dani Sordo, who was best of the rest in the sister Citroen Total World Rally Team C4 WRC car.

"My car felt okay, no problems, but shakedown is a bit special I think compared to the first pass through the stages we will have tomorrow," Loeb told the official WRC website.

"In the stages there is snow and a lot of slippery conditions but the shakedown was full of gravel so there was a lot of grip.

"Friday's first stage has a good ice base, on the second there was just snow on the recce, and for me that's not good. We're very close to the gravel underneath, so the second pass will be rough and hard for the tyres.

"I don't have much experience of the tyres in these conditions, but for sure we'll start to lose some studs. I don't know how to save the tyres on a surface like this. We'll have to see."

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile was third for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT, followed by his team-mate and 2009 runner-up Mikko Hirvonen. Marcus Gronholm and Petter Solberg came in fifth and sixth, with Sebastian Ogier and Henning Solberg rounding out the top eight. 2007 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was tenth - 5.9 seconds off the pace.

Rally Sweden now continues later on today with the 1.90 kilometre Karlstad 1 super special starting at 20.04 hours local time.

Leading shakedown times:

1. Sebastien LoebCitroen Total WRT C4 WRC1min 53.4secs
2. Dani SordoCitroen Total WRT C4 WRC1min 54.8secs
3. Jari-Matti LatvalaBP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus WRC 1min 55.8secs
4. Mikko HirvonenBP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus WRC 1min 56.0secs
5. Marcus GronholmStobart VK Ford Focus WRC1min 56.2secs
6. Petter SolbergPSWRT Citroen C4 WRC1min 56.3secs
7. Sebastien OgierCitroen Junior Team C4 WRC1min 57.4secs
8. Henning SolbergStobart VK Ford Focus WRC1min 57.6secs
9. Mads OstbergAdapta AS Subaru Impreza WRC 1min 59.0secs
10. Kimi RaikkonenCitroen Junior Team C4 WRC1min 59.3secs
11. Matthew WilsonStobart VK Ford Focus WRC1min 59.4secs
12. Khalid Al QassimiBP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 2mins 00.8secs

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