31 Jan 2009

Loeb in control in Ireland

3:53 pm on 31 January 2009

Citroen's five-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb leads the season-opening Rally Ireland.

The Frenchman, winner of the Sligo-based cross-border event when it was last on the calendar in 2007, is 44.4 seconds in front of Spanish team mate Dani Sordo.

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen, overall runner-up last season, stalled at a junction on stage six but the Finn ended the day in third place after Estonian Urmo Aava spun his Stobart Ford into a water-filled ditch.

Hirvonen was one minute four seconds behind Loeb, who reeled off five stage wins in a row after Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala took the opening one.