Loeb holds his line in Germany
LEADING MEN: Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena in their Citroen DS3 race past vineyards in Kluesserath near Trier, south-west Germany, on August 24, 2012. They went on to win the day. Image: AFP
Trier, Germany - France's Sebastien Loeb is on course to claim his ninth Rally of Germany title in 10 years after dominating the first day of the event on Friday.
Loeb once again proved he is at home here on the twisting roads around Trier in the Moseley Valley, Having already won this race eight times, the 38-year-old Citroen driver set the fastest time in four of Friday's six stages, finishing 20sec ahead of Ford's Norwegian driver Petter Solberg.
FOUR TO GO
Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala was third, 29sec off the pace, having briefly threatened Loeb's domination by winning stages four and six.
With four rallies left after this weekend, eight-times World champion Loeb is on course to win this year's title as he leads the WRC drivers' table by 43 points from Finnish team mate Mikko Hirvonen, sixth here on Friday.
Apart from an accident or error, Loeb's rivals seem set to be battling it out for second place.
Last year's winner, France’s Sebastien Ogier, is back in 10th place after the first day of the Rally of Germany which concludes on Sunday.
Rally of Germany standings after Friday's opening six stages
1 Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 1hr22min18.0
2 Petter Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) +20.4
3 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) +29.4
4 Thierry Neuville (BEL/Citroen DS3) +34.5
5 Daniel Sordo (ESP/Mini) +46.7
6 Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroen DS3) +48.9
7 Ott Tanak (EST/Ford Fiesta RS) +1min17.9
8 Mads Ostberg (NOR-SWE/Ford Fiesta RS) +1min28.7
9 Chris Atkinson (AUS/Citroen DS3) +3min43.3
Stage winners: Loeb (1,2,3,5), Latvala (4,6)