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Loeb closes on home glory.

Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb has increased his lead to almost a minute following day two of the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, the thirteenth round in this year's World Rally Championship.

Loeb started the day with a 30-odd second cushion and having dominated the opening leg, he was again unstoppable in his C4 WRC car and won all three tests this morning.

In the afternoon it was a case of more of the same - and it was only in the final stage that Francois Duval ended his run of unbroken stage times, by setting the pace in the repeat run through the 14.37 kilometre Appriccinia-Coggia 2 test.

With eleven stage wins from twelve though it was all pretty academic and the four-time world champion will now go into the final leg on Sunday with a 52.4 second advantage.

"I tried to slow things down a little bit and to be safe I took two spare wheels for the repeat loop this afternoon," Loeb revealed.

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile remains second and on course to take the runners-up spot, a result that will keep him in contention for the drivers' crown, although the difference between him and Loeb will go up to 14 points, with just the two rounds to go in Japan and Wales.

Mikko and his 'guest' team-mate Francois Duval were pretty evenly matched throughout Saturday's action and while the pendulum seemed to swing in the favour of the former in SS10 and SS11, it went the other way in SS12. As a result only 4.3 seconds splits the two going into the overnight halt.

"This morning I thought that if everything went well, then I could keep ahead of Francois and that's how it turned out," said Hirvonen. "I don't think either of us was driving at 110 per cent this afternoon but nothing is certain so I'll drive hard tomorrow.

"Second would be very important to maintain my challenge for the drivers' championship. I have to accept that I can't beat Sébastien Loeb here, so I would be happy with second."



Related Pictures

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Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
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Nanbawan - Unregistered

October 11, 2008 11:20 PM

Well, "home" glory might not be the best term despite the fact that this rally is called Rallye de France. Seb being from Alsace, close to the German border and quite a long way from "The Island of Beauty" as French people refer to Corsica. Bearing that in mind, the German Rally can be considered his home rally if not his national one. Nevertheless, I''ve noticed that there weren''t too many comments on WRC and Loeb related topics. I can fully understand that Loeb''s current über domination of the sport might bore many, but let''s not forget or belittle the fact that what he''s been doing lately was nothing short of tremendous !

Who Cares - Unregistered

October 12, 2008 11:38 AM

Nanbawan, I'm not sure people from Alsace would be happy to read that Germany is more their home than France... Corsica is 'home' only to Corsicans anyway, but still a part of France, one of the most beautiful ones, and a pride for Frenchmen as it has remained, thanks to the Corsicans, protected from the eager appetites of real estate builders. Where I do agree with you is that Loeb's achievements are extraordinary. A pity that team orders are allowed in WRC because I'm afraid we'll see Duval and Latvala letting Hirvonen through in the last stage... Sad retirement for Tirabassi, after a fine display, giving again some points to tha hopeless Matthew Wilson...



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