Stage data: SS2, Hohlandsbourg-Firstplan 1 (28.67 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “This is a very nice and fast stage and a combination of two old stages. There is a lot of grip, the road is wide and it’s fun to drive if the road stays dry. It will be very fast. The beginning is like an uphill race, then we have a small part in vineyard before the finish in a downhill section.”
How the action unfolded:
Sebastien Loeb has moved in front in the battle for victory on Rallye de France Alsace by winning Friday’s opening test.
The Citroen star, who is aiming to win the FIA World Rally Championship crown for a ninth time this weekend, completed the test in 14m36.1s, 3.5s faster than his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.
Loeb opted for four hard-compound Michelin tyres for what he described as mainly dry stage conditions. “I tried to push,” said Loeb, who now leads Hirvonen by 3.2s in the overall classification. “The road condition was quite dry, not tricky. There is no problem at the moment.”
Behind Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala was the leading Ford runner in third. The Finn was using soft-compound tyres on his Fiesta. While he suggested they weren’t ideal for this stage, he said his choice was made for the opening loop of three stages as a whole.
Dani Sordo was the leading MINI pilot in fourth with Mads Ostberg fifth, Petter Solberg sixth and overnight leader Thierry Neuville seventh fastest with the Belgian ruing his decision to opt for soft tyres. Ott Tanak equalled Neuville’s time in his M-Sport Fiesta. The Estonian is running on hard tyres.
Stage three, Vallee de Munster, goes live at 10:06hrs local time.