Loeb grabs lead in Argentina

2012-04-28 07:45

Cordoba - Eight-time world champion Sebastien Loeb moved into the lead of the Rally of Argentina - the event he has won for the last six years - on Friday thanks to a blistering charge on the fifth stage.

The Frenchman was 13.4sec faster than Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen on the penultimate run to take an overall lead of 1.1sec with Ford driver Dani Sordo in third, 13.1sec down on Loeb.

"We changed the set-up a little and I was much more confident in the afternoon," said Loeb.

"I pushed really hard and there were no mistakes this time. It is very close with Mikko and there is a long way to go."

Hirvonen struggled on the uneven road surface, while Sordo had a problem with his left-rear wheel.

Norway's 2003 world champion Petter Solberg, in a Ford Fiesta, had led after three of the day's six stages.

But his hopes were shattered when he failed to start the fifth stage after the steering arm on his Fiesta broke when he was 5.8km from the end of stage four.

Results from the Rally of Argentina, the fifth event of the world rally championship, after Friday's first five stages:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citren DS3) 2 h 06:52.9, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citren DS3) at 1.1, 3. Dani Sordo (ESP/Ford Fiesta RS) 13.1, 4. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 56.3, 5. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT/Citren DS3) 4:55.6, 6. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR/Skoda Fabia S2000) 5:43.9, 7. Martin Prokop (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS) 5:44.2, 8. Sbastien Ogier (FRA/Skoda Fabia S2000) 6:03.4

Still to finish:

Evgeny Novikov (RUS/Ford Fiesta RS), Ott Tanak (EST/Ford Fiesta RS), Petter Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS), Thierry Neuville (BEL/Citren DS3)