Defending Rally Argentina champ Sebastien Loeb leads after first day

CORDOBA, Argentina — Four-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of France piloted his Citroen to the first-day lead at the Rally Argentina on Friday.

Mikko Hirvonen held the lead after the first four stages but hit a rock in the fifth and lost valuable time. In the same stage, Loeb surged to victory and hung on over a wet, muddy course after a rainy start to the event on Cordoba’s hill circuit.

Loeb finished the day’s driving over some 97 miles in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 28 seconds. Australia’s Chris Atkinson was 1:30.6 behind, while Norway’s Petter Solberg followed in third — 1:38.9 behind Loeb.

Rally Argentina Results

Friday (First day of the three-day Rally Argentina)

After eight stages over a 152-kilometer (97-mile) course

1. Sebastian Loeb, France, Citroen, 1 hour, 54 minutes, 28 seconds.

2. Chris Atkinson, Australia, Subaru, 1 minute, 30.6 seconds behind.

3. Petter Solberg, Norway, Subaru, 1:38.9.

4. Gigi Galli, Italy, Ford, 1:47.7.

5. Daniel Sordo, Spain, Citroen, 2:06.9.

6. Federico Villagra, Argentina, Ford, 4:48.3.

7. Matthew Wilson, Britain, Ford, 6:18.3.

8. Jari-Matti Latvala, Finland, Ford, 9:27.5.

9. Conrad Rautenbach, Zimbabwe, Citroen, 10:31.8.

10. Andreas Aigner, Austria, Mitsubishi Lancer, 12:21.0.

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