RALLY OF CATALUNYA

Sordo takes the lead, Loeb and Hirvonen follow

On the opening day of the Catalunya Rally, Spain's Dani Sordo driver has taken the lead. The Frenchman Sebastien Loeb, five times the world champion, follows his teammate, and current championship leader, Mikko Hirvonen, is third.

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AFP - Spaniard Dani Sordo took the lead after the opening day of the Catalunya Rally on Friday but fellow Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb gave warning that he is ready for a battle.

Sordo was quickest out of the blocks as he bids to get one up on Loeb, chasing his fifth consecutive victory at the venue as he seeks a sixth straight world title.

The Spaniard won the first four of the day's six special stages to move 4.8 seconds ahead of Loeb before the Frenchman powered back to win the final two.

Sordo finished the day 1.6 seconds ahead of the French driver with Finland's Mikko Hirvonen third in a Ford Focus at 34sec.

Loeb went into the penultimate rally of the 2009 season at Salou near Barcelona trailing Hirvonen by five points in the drivers' standings.

The season ends with the Rally of Great Britain on October 23-25.

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