Sebastien Ogier holds a lead of just over a half minute after the first day of competition on the Jordan Rally.
The rally commenced on Friday morning after problems getting the equipment to the service park led to the cancellation of Thursday's stages.
Sebastien Loeb was quickest on the opening stage, SS7 Suwayama, but Citroen Total teammate Ogier moved into a joint lead of the rally with Loeb after SS8. The younger Frenchman then won SS9 to give himself the overall lead.
His advantage stood at 6.4 seconds going into the final stage of the day, SS12 Jordan River 2, but as his nearest rivals deployed slowing tactics to ensure they did not run first on the road on the final day, Ogier instead decided to try and give himself as big a margin as possible. Winning the stage by 18 seconds, he extended his lead to 31.6 seconds.
Loeb sits second. After losing the lead to Ogier, the world champion briefly dropped to third behind Petter Solberg, only to take it back on the first stage of the afternoon loop. He would lose second again to Jari-Matti Latvala on SS11, before regaining it in the tactics on the final stage. Latvala is 1.5s behind Loeb in third, with Solberg just 2.2s further back.
Mikko Hirvonen was unable to keep up with the leading quartet, struggling with running first on the road and then suffering a power steering problem in the final test of the day. This has left him two and a half minutes down on Ogier.
Kimi Raikkonen is running a strong sixth in his Ice 1 Citroen, having come out on top of a day-long battle with Matthew Wilson. Wilson's M-Sport Stobart teammates Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg both suffered mechanical issues. Ostberg dropped out of sixth on SS10 with a gearbox issue, while Henning suffered a damaged engine on SS9.
Khalid Al Qassimi is eighth in the Abu Dhabi Ford, one place ahead of fellow Middle Eastern driver Nasser Al Attiyah, who leads the SWRC category in his S2000 Fiesta. Federico Villagra is tenth in his Fiesta RS WRC.
Top ten positions after SS12:
|1.||Sebastien Ogier||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||1:32:53.4|
|2.||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||+31.6|
|3.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+33.1|
|4.||Petter Solberg||PSWRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||+35.3|
|5.||Mikko Hirvonen||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2:30.9|
|6.||Kimi Raikkonen||Ice 1 Racing||Citroen DS3 WRC||+2:45.8|
|7.||Matthew Wilson||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2:57.8|
|8.||Khalid Al Qassimi||Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+4:49.7|
|9.||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Barwa||Ford Fiesta S2000||+4:54.2|
|10.||Federico Villagra||Munchi's||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+5:19.3|