World Rally Championship: Sebastien Loeb quickest in Rally of Spain qualifying
Last Updated: 09/11/12 3:22pm
Sebastien Loeb: Well placed for victory charge at Rally of Spain
World champion Sebastian Loeb was the quickest driver in qualifying for the season-ending Rally of Spain.
The Citroen driver, who has captured the World Rally Championship for the ninth time this year, completed the 2.94 kilometre circuit in 2 minutes 6.118 seconds.
As a result the Frenchman will get to pick his starting spot in Friday's first stage, which will take place primarily on gravel.
Second fastest was Evgeny Novikov, who took his Ford Fiesta round 0.146s slower than Loeb, while Mikko Hirvonen claimed third place 0.310s back on his Citroen team-mate.
Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala finished qualification in fourth place with team-mate Petter Solberg rounding out the top five. Dani Sordo was the top-ranked Spaniard, placing seventh in his home event.
"I was thinking this morning that it wouldn't make such a difference if I was the first, second or third or fourth to pick my place (on the road)," Loeb told the WRC's official website.
"When I think to the first day and where I will run on the road, we have to remember that even if the rain doesn't come, the road this morning was damp. It's not the easy choice and we have to think about the asphalt as well.
"This is not straightforward: Jari-Matti and Mikko both have very strong pace for this rally and we have to be wary of them."