Citroën driver and championship leader Sebastién Loeb held an overall lead of 14,2 seconds over Marcus Gronholm’s Peugeot at the end of the SS3 stage of the Turkish Rally on Friday.

Citroën driver and championship leader Sebastién Loeb held an overall lead of 14,2 seconds over Marcus Gronholm’s Peugeot at the end of the SS3 stage of the Turkish Rally on Friday.


The young Frenchman started the day by posting the fastest time on the 28,98-km run through Phaselis 1 (SS2) and moved into an overall lead of 2,5 seconds over Gronholm.


Loeb had feared that he would be at a disadvantage because he was running first on the road, which generally means losing time on unused loose gravel. But the Phaselis stage was damp and the conditions suited the Frenchman, who was 3,2s quicker than any of the other WRC drivers.


During the 34,24-km Silyon 1 (SS3), Subaru’s Petter Solberg was just 3,3 seconds off Loeb’s pace and closed in on Peugeot’s Marcus Gronholm in the overall standings. Gronholm was third best on SS3, but 11,7 seconds slower than Loeb. At the time, the Peugeot driver was 1,9 seconds ahead of Solberg overall.


At the time of the report, the event was already showing signs of turning into a three-horse race. Carlos Sainz's Citroën was fourth overall, but 58,7 seconds behind Loeb already.


The Spanish veteran was fourth quickest on Silyon, 30,7 seconds slower than his team-mate Loeb, with Subaru’s Mikko Hirvonen (now fifth overall) and Mitsubishi’s Gilles Panizzi completing the top six, 37 and 41,4 seconds off the pace respectively.


Markko Martin and his Ford team-mate Francois Duval were seventh and eighth best on SS3. Duval was sixth overall and Martin seventh, 1m13,5s and 1m15,0s behind the leader respectively.


Harri Rovanpera was over a minute off the pace on Siluyon and ninth overall, 1m44,3s behind Loeb.