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Loeb stretches lead.

Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb further increased his advantage on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse this morning, to take his run of stage wins to nine from nine.

Loeb, who dominated the first leg on Friday, was unstoppable in his C4 WRC car and the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Focus RS WRC08's were left looking decidedly second best.

Francois Duval was the closest to Seb in SS7 - the 21.88 kilometre Carbuccia test - 2.9 seconds off the pace, while Mikko Hirvonen was 'best of the rest' in SS8, but still 1.2 seconds further back. It was a similar tale in SS9, with Loeb 1.8 seconds up on Duval.

The four-time world champion thus increased his lead by around 10 seconds, up from 32.3 seconds overnight to 41.7 seconds heading into the mid-day service at Port CCI.

"I'm just trying to find the right pace and stick to it. There's no question of slowing down for the time being," said Loeb. "It was really difficult for the tyres [in SS8], which began to move around. That's not a lot of fun, but the car is fine."

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile remains second, but he and team-mate Francois Duval were again very evenly matched and they finished the loop with just 2.6 seconds seperating them.

"It's been a steady morning and while I'm fighting with Francois, I don't want to take too many risks," said Hirvonen, who has to score to keep his slim championship hopes alive. "I'm driving at 100 percent but I don't want to go over that.

"The stages were slippery and I've been sliding a bit and missed some braking points on the slippery gravel sections. There is more gravel on the stages today and the roads are more abrasive. But I can't catch Loeb by driving alone, he is too fast for me."

"It's incredible how close the times are with Mikko," Duval added. "I expected to be faster than him this morning but he's very quick on asphalt this year.



Related Pictures

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