Grief for Gronholm as Loeb seizes lead

World champion Sebastien Loeb of France took the lead of the Cyprus Rally after winning six out of eight stages on Saturday.

Limassol, Sept 24: World champion Sebastien Loeb of France took the lead of the Cyprus Rally after winning six out of eight stages on Saturday.

Loeb, who entered the second day 6.4 seconds behind Finland's Marcus Gronholm, now leads by 21.8 seconds as he looks to seal a record 28th win in a World Rally Championship and move closer to a third straight world title.

Finland's Marcus Gronholm, won the first two stages on the rally's second day but the Finn spun his Ford Focus in the sixth stage and lost 8.9 seconds and the lead to Loeb by a second - Loeb went on to win the last two stages and to extend his lead over the Finn, while Mikko Hirvonen, Gronholm's team-mate and compatriot, retained third place.

The Cyprus Rally is known for its gravel tracks, with the first driver on the road acting as a sweeper for the vehicles which follow, and the terrain was typically treacheropus on Saturday's second day of the Cyprus Rally.

Finland's Marcus Gronholm, who entered the day with a 6.4-second lead over world champion Sebastien Loeb, won the first two stages of the rally's second leg and held his ground well despite the Citroen driver's attacks on the dusty roads.

However, disaster struck when the Finn spun his Ford Focus on the sixth stage of the day (14th overall) and lost 8.9 seconds and the lead to Loeb by a second.

The Frenchman is looking to seal a record 28th win in the World Rally Championship and move closer to a third successive world title.

He went on to win the last two stages, and six out of eight on the day, to extend his lead over Gronholm to 21.8 seconds.

Meanwhile, Mikko Hirvonen, Gronholm's team-mate and compatriot, retained third place in his Ford Focus.

On a day of crashes in the searing heat, Britain's Ken Dobson and co-driver Brian Spademen were taken to a hospital after their Mitsubishi left the road in Saturday's first stage, Spademan is still under observation after suffering severe bruising, while Spaniards Dani Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti escaped with minor technical damage after rolling their Citroen Xsara on the 10th stage.

Fortunately, they were not seriously injured but lost time and fell to 10th place.

Bureau Report

Zee News App: Read latest news of India and world, bollywood news, business updates, cricket scores, etc. Download the Zee news app now to keep up with daily breaking news and live news event coverage.
Tags: