SS18: Loeb takes the lead as Ogier spins
Sebastien Loeb continued his remarkable Rally New Zealand recovery on Sunday's opening stage when he moved into the lead of the event.
After losing 80 seconds in a crash on day one, Loeb moved 4.5sec ahead of the man now in second, fellow Citroen C4 driver Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier lost 10 seconds during the stage when he misjudged a corner, spun and nudged a bank with his car. The road surface was damp after overnight rain.
Stage winner was Mikko Hirvonen, who lies sixth behind Petter Solberg. Solberg meanwhile was second quickest and narrowed the gap on the man in front of him - Dani Sordo.
SS19: Loeb goes off!
Minutes after taking the lead of Rally New Zealand Sebastien Loeb slipped down to fourth after an off-road excursion on the epic Whaanga Coast stage cost him almost 50 seconds.
Loeb went off the road on a long right-hand corner and emerged from the 29km stage with his car sporting damage to its right-hand (driver's side) front corner. With no obvious mechanical damage, Loeb continued on to the midday 15-minute service at Raglan.
Loeb's misfortune promoted Ogier back into the lead, with Jari-Matti Latvala 5.6sec adrift in second and Petter Solberg - who was the stage winner - just 11.1sec further back.
Behind the top three, Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo are closely bunched and remain capable of attacking for the lead on the final 40 kilometres. The leading six drivers are separated by just 31.4sec.