Loeb fastest in Finnish qualifying special
French veteran Sebastien Loeb posted the fastest time in his Citroen DS3 for Wednesday's special qualifying stage for the Rally of Finland.
Standings' leader and eight-time world champion Loeb, who won here last season, elected afterwards to set off tenth in Thursday's opening stage around Lahti, north of Helsinki.
Loeb timed 2:17.470 as he outpaced by 0.555sec home favourite Jari-Matti Latvala in his Ford Fiesta, who won here in 2010. He also was too quick for 2009 race winner Mikko Hirvonen in his Citroen DS3.
Norway's Petter Solberg, the 2003 world champion, was fourth quickest in his Ford Fiesta over the 4.62km course.
Thursday sees the drivers tackle a 30.08km stage spread across three timed specials which also includes a 2km evening super-special at a hippodrome just outside Lahti.
QUALIFYING SPECIAL RESULTS:
1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 2:17.470
2. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) at 0.555
3. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroen DS3) 2:32.231 0.806
4. Petter Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 1.219
5. Evgeny Novikov (RUS/Ford Fiesta RS) 1.223
6. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 2.032
7. Ott Tanak-Kuldar Sikk (EST/Ford Fiesta RS) 2.213
8. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Citroen DS3) 2.617
9. Chris Atkinson (AUS/BEL/Citroen DS3) 2.824
10. Jari Ketomaa (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) 3.447