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2013-02-08 19:53

CLEAN PAIR OF WHEELS: France's Sebastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia acheive lift-off with their VW Polo in the Swedish snow during Thursday's sections of the 2013 WRC Rally of Sweden.Image: AFP

KARLSTAD, Sweden - Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (VW) led the way in the Rally of Sweden after the opening seven special stages Thursday and early Friday around Karlstad and Hagfors.

Ogier, bidding to go one better than the second place he managed in the Jan 2013 Monte Carlo rally, took his lead over closest rivals, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb of Citroen and VW's Finn Jari-Matti Latvala, to 30sec ahead of an evening super special at Karlstad Hippodrome.

TWO MORE SHOWS

Nine-times World champion Loeb, who won in Monte Carlo, is racing in Sweden as part of a trimmed schedule of only four races during 2013 but has only triumphed in Sweden once - in 2004.

His only other appearances this season will be in Argentina and in his home rally in France.

Latvala won the event in 2012 but Ford drivers have won the last six Swedish rallies.

Standings after Friday's seven stages
1 Sebastien Ogier (FRA/VW Polo R) 1hr14min23.1
2 Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) +0min32.2
3 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/VW Polo R) +0min33.7
4 Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) +0min42.8
5 Evgeny Novikov (RUS/Ford Fiesta RS) +1min12.1
6 Portus Tidemand (SWE/Ford Fiesta RS) +1min22.6
7 Juho Hanninen (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) +1min48.7
8 Thierry Neuville (BEL/Ford Fiesta RS) +2min01.3
9 Henning Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) +3min23.9
10 Martin Prokop (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS) +4min39.9

Stage winners
Loeb 1 (1), Ogier 5 (2,3,5,6,7), Ostberg 1 (4).

NB: Stage 8, a super special, was to be run on Friday evening in Karlstad.

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