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Loeb crashes out in Jordan
The WRC champion is involved in a head-on collision as Citroen teammate Sordo leads.
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2008 13:33 GMT

Citroen's Dani Sordo leads the Jordan Rally after teammate Sebastien Loeb crashed out on day two

Sebastien Loeb, World Rally champion, was involved in a freak collision with fellow Citroën driver Conrad Rautenbach on day two of the Jordan Rally, ruining his chances of winning the inaugural Middle Eastern event.
Loeb, who had dominated the early stages on the second day in the Dead Sea area of the Hashemite Kingdom, was on a non-race section of the course between the 11th and 12th stages when he collided with Rautenbach's car at a narrow two-way crossing point.

Both Citroëns were extensively damaged.
"It is terrible," lamented Daniel Elena, Loeb's co-driver.

"We drive flat out, we take big risks and all for nothing. We get smashed on a road section."

"We drive flat out, we take big risks and all for nothing."

Daniel Elena,
Citroen co-driver
Spaniard Dani Sordo, Loeb's teammate and overnight leader, took a slender 8.5-second overall lead in his Citroen.

Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala is in second place, followed by Ford team mate Mikko Hirvonen, while Australian Chris Atkinson and Estonian Urmo Aava filled fourth and fifth position, with Britain's Malcolm Wilson and Norwegian Henning Solberg close behind.
 
Ford played a master stroke on the final stage of the second day with both leader-elect Latvala and Hirvonen easing their pace over the closing metres of special stage 16 to ensure Sordo would starts first again on what promises to be a thrilling final day at the Dead Sea.

Loeb lead turns to nothing

Eight stages were run on Saturday and Loeb shadowed Sordo into the first Turki special stage, a mere 1.1 seconds behind in the overall classification.

But the reigning World Champion pushed hard over the opening kilometres and beat his Spanish team mate by 9.2s to open up an 8.1s lead, as thousands of spectators lined the winding gravel trails at one of the lowest points on earth.

Loeb maintained his dominance through the first Shuna stage and capitalised on Sordo's road position to stretch his lead to 34.1 seconds before the accident with Rautenbach put the Frenchman out of contention.

Sunday's final leg of six special stages is dominated by two potentially treacherous runs through the 41.45km Jordan River special that skirts the border with Israel.

Several of the leading drivers have stated that this is the most difficult special stage of the entire event and will be run as the last test of the entire rally, which reaches a conclusion adjacent to the King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre on the shores of the Dead Sea.

Source:
Agencies
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