Sebastien Loeb admitted he was disappointed to see Mikko Hirvonen retire from Rally Argentina, despite the fact it has left the Frenchman with a clear run to a fifth win of the World Rally Championship season.

The Citroen ace had started the day down in third but took a clean-sweep of the morning stages to secure the lead by the mid-day service.

Despite seeing Hirvonen fight back however on the first stage of the afternoon, Loeb's chances of victory were aided by the Finn's retirement after SS15 with overheating problems, which will leave him with a lead of nearly a minute over team-mate Dani Sordo.

Loeb admitted that he won't take risks on the final day with third-placed Jari-Matti Latvala well over a minute behind, although he did concede that a victory for him 'wouldn't be nice' for the championship as it would extend his lead in the standings still further.

"I pushed hard from the start to the end today, I was on the limit everywhere, and now we have lead of almost a minute, so it's been a great day," he told the WRC website. "It was really a good fight with Mikko, so I was disappointed when he went out because now the race is not the same. Also, when it comes to the championship, if we can finish like this then there will be a big gap - so that's not so nice.

"Tomorrow the most important thing for me is to keep the car on the road. We have a big lead over Dani so we don't have to take big risks.

"Sunday's stages aren't easy, but there are only 48km of competitive action remaining, so I think we should be able to control from the front."

While his hopes of victory faded on day two, Sordo looks set to provide Citroen with a 1-2 finish to aid its manufacturers' championship title bid and he was pleased with how day two had gone.

"My intention is to hold on to second place," he said. "Latvala is only 40 second behind but I should hopefully be able to keep him at bay. It's looking good for a one-two finish for Citroen, and that would be an excellent result for our championship chances."


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