Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has retired from Rallye de France Alsace this morning in the third stage.
Loeb, who had set the pace in the shakedown on Thursday and who had been quickest in SS1 and third fastest in SS2, to grab the early lead – albeit by only 0.1 seconds from team-mate, Sebastien Ogier, had to call it a day around 27 kilometres into the 36km Pays d'Ormont test due to an engine problem.
Ogier now leads by 6.5 seconds from Petter Solberg, with MINI WRT men Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke third and fourth.
Mads Ostberg completes the top five, ahead of Mikko Hirvonen, who also had problems in SS3: “I went off about 2km from the start,” confirmed the Ford Abu Dhabi WRT man. “I must have collected some mud or something because the car was vibrating and I couldn't see. It was really, really stupid. I have to push now.”
Hirvonen is now almost a minute off the lead, with his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala down in ninth, having also had an off-road excursion in Pays d'Ormont 1.
More to follow later...