8 Feb 2013

Loeb takes early lead in Sweden

11:30 am on 8 February 2013

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of France has driven his Citroen to an early lead after the opening special stage of the Rally of Sweden.

Loeb, who intentionally included the Rally of Sweden in his scaled down schedule of four races this season, has a slender half a second lead over Russian Evgeny Novikov in a Ford and Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala in a VW.

Loeb has found it frustratingly difficult to win in Sweden and picked up his only win back in 2004 while Ford drivers have won the last six editions.

He won the opening Rally of Monte Carlo last month but has declared the only other races he will enter this season will be in Argentina and his home rally in France.

Latvala won the Rally of Sweden last year.