Loeb extends his lead after morning loop

First run through today’s stages of Rallye Monte Carlo saw overnight leader Sebastien Loeb further extending his lead. Frenchman is now comfortably ahead of pursuers, led by remaining Ford driver Petter Solberg.

Fight for second place was main highlight of the morning, with Solberg relentlessly pushing Mini’s Dani Sordo. Spaniard started the day with 1 second lead ahead of Solberg, but Norwegian was very quick on SS 5, scoring second fastest time through the stage and climbing to second overall, with 1.9 seconds ahead of Sordo.

On 6th special stage Sordo fought back and retook second spot by mere 3 tenths ahead of Solberg. Following 7th stage once again played in Solberg’s favor and Ford’s driver reclaimed second place overall.

Equally interesting was the fight for 4th position. Mikko Hirvonen came out at the top after SS 7, but Evgeny Novikov and Sebastien Ogier are within striking distance and we can expect this battle to continue after the break. Frenchman Ogier was once again flying through stages, and with right tyre choice he set 4th fastest time on SS 7, just 8,1 seconds behind fastest man Loeb.

Quotes after SS 7:

“Very tricky stage, very slippy some places. We are driving sensible.” – P. Solberg

“Tyres were compromise. It was humid and wet, I lost a bit grip in the middle of the stage. No problem at all.” – S. Loeb

“To be honest, here I was pushing really hard, but time not comes. It’s really strange.”