Citroen's Sebastien Loeb leads on first day in Cyprus

France's world champion title-holder Sebastien Loeb (Citroen, pictured) leads the Cyprus race after the six asphalt stages of the rally's opening day, ahead of his Spanish teammate Dani Sordo and Finland's Mikko Hirvonen (Ford).


REUTERS - Citroen's world champion Sebastien Loeb took the lead on the opening day of the Cyprus Rally on Friday, the third round of the World Rally Championship.

Loeb held a lead of 41.8 seconds over Spanish team mate Dani Sordo after six asphalt stages of the rally. The Frenchman recorded the fastest time in five of them.

Finn Mikko Hirvonen of Ford ended the day third, 18.4 seconds behind Sordo.

"I worked very hard to get those times," said Loeb, who has already won the rallies in Ireland and Norway this season. "It was tricky to set good stage times on those tyres."

The drivers were using control gravel tyres on Friday's asphalt surfaces. Loose surface stages are scheduled for the next two days of the event in the island's Troodos mountains.

Henning Solberg's Ford Focus was involved in an accident with a non-rally vehicle on a road section before the start of the first stage.

The team was unable to repair the damaged car and Solberg will try to restart as a SuperRally entrant on Saturday, organisers said.

"We should be able to SuperRally tomorrow, but there is no chance of a good result now -- I can't take five minutes out of everybody on every stage tomorrow," Norwegian Solberg was quoted as saying on the WRC's website (www.wrc.com).


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app