Loeb Takes Early Lead in Rally GB

Sebastien Loeb has set off his title-defending effort in Great Britain with a great few runs on Friday, as the Frenchman leads the WRC field after SS3 by a comfortable 8.9-second lead over title rival Mikko Hirvonen.

The weather forecast for this weekend's Rally Great Britain have not been gloomy enough, as the WRC official site announced “low cloud, showery rain and a chilly winter temperature of nine degrees Celsius” during the morning stages of the season finale.

After building a great pace during the first two stages of the day, Loeb really pushed the pedal during SS3, at the end of which he took 6 more seconds out of Hirvonen in the overall classification.

Really, really good stage – no mistakes, flat out everywhere, good braking, good lines. Really happy with the car. So for the moment everything is okay,” said Loeb after SS3, according to Autosport website.

It's not going so well, but it's not too bad either. Sebastien is really flying, but we'll have to try again. No worries. It's not a first on the road thing, there are places where I'm braking too early and taking it too steady,” added a presumably non-worried Hirvonen. Soon after SS2, the Finn admitted that, while pretty happy with the way he's driving, he is capable of going faster later today.

The first few stages were a thing to forget for Ford's second works driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who lost more than one and a half minute to his teammate during SS1 and SS2. The Finn's car apparently hit something during the first stage and later lost the drive on both front wheels of the Focus RS WRC.

We were approaching a junction, braking and turning in when suddenly we lost drive and the left-hand drive shaft broke. It seems that in the second stage the drive shaft has broken the pipe for the front brakes, so now we only have the rears,” added Latvala.

During SS3, after which all drivers are to hit the service park, Latvala's time loss to the leading pack is more than 4 minutes (4:13 to be more exact).

Dani Sordo took more than 4 seconds out of Petter Solberg during SS3 and eventually finished the first part of the Friday action in 3rd place, while 5th and 6th were secured by Citroen Junior's Sebastien Ogier and Stobart's Henning Solberg. Matthew Wilson and Mads Ostberg complete the Top 8 after SS3.
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