Sebastien Loeb has praised the efforts of the Rally Sweden organizers for transforming this morning's roads into what the Frenchman described as the perfect conditions.
Loeb and the rest of the drivers in the opening round of the World Rally Championship had talked of their concerns at the potential for gravel to come through the snow surface after consistently cold conditions did not allow the snow to melt and refreeze into ice. The organizers had taken the precaution of watering the Likenas test which opened proceedings this morning, but they worked on the rest of the route late last night, blowing snow back onto the road.
"I have to say the organizers did a very good job," said Loeb. "I was happy with the road, the condition was very good and the grip was consistent. I could push hard. I think the organizers did some snow blowing or something, it worked. It was perfect."
The Citroen driver led the event after the first morning, 4.1sec ahead of Ford's Mikko Hirvonen.
Hirvonen and his fellow Focus RS WRC 09 driver Jari-Matti Latvala both talked of the car feeling inconsistent this morning. Hirvonen adjusted the differential map in the car ahead of the morning's third test – and immediately went fastest. Latvala is fourth, 12sec behind Citroen's Dani Sordo.
"We got this setup from the test," said Hirvonen, "but I think there was more gravel in the road there. I wasn't happy through the first two. The car wasn't handling right at all and Sebastien was going really fast. It's time for our attack now."