Loeb leads after early stages

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:48 IST

Sebastien Loeb picked up where he left off last season with another solid performance in the Rally of Monte Carlo on Saturday.

Loeb leads after early stages

Monte Carlo:

World champion Sebastien Loeb picked up where he left off last season with another solid performance in the Rally of Monte Carlo on Saturday. He stamped his authority early on day two, navigating the tricky icy roads to stretch a 38 second lead over Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm. Loeb's Citroen teammate Francois Duval challenged for the lead early on, underlining the dominance of the Citroen Xsaras. The young Belgian was only 5.1 seconds behind Loeb after stage five and 18 seconds ahead of the non-Citroens. But his charge was cut short when he fell foul of the conditions and crashed out of the rally after hitting a telegraph pole. Duval had to abandon the race, and his co-pilot Stephane Prevot was taken by helicopter to a hospital in nearby Nice for medical checks. That left the field open to Finland's Marcus Gronholm in the Peugeot and the two-time world champion stayed in contention by finishing 38.3 seconds behind Loeb. There was an impressive run by Ford newcomer Toni Gardemeister who closed 13 seconds behind Gronholm and 51 adrift of Loeb. 2003 world champion Petter Solberg was in fourth place, a full two minutes behind Loeb. (AP)

Topics : Formula 1
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