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France - leg 3: Home win helps Loeb cut gap.

Sebastien Loeb won in Corsica on Sunday and in the process further improved his title hopes, cutting Marcus Gronholm's advantage at the top of the drivers' championship back to just four points.

Loeb took the lead on the second loop on Friday, after losing out to Gronholm and his team-mate, Daniel Sordo in both SS2 and SS3 - SS1 having been cancelled due to spectator problems.

Following the first service on Friday, Seb was 4.1 seconds off Gronholm and 1.2 seconds behind the sister C4 WRC. He soon turned the tables on the repeat runs however and moved up to P2 in SS4, when he was 1.1 seconds up on Gronholm and 4.5 seconds quicker than Dani.

Lobe then went in front on SS5, with his second stage win in succession, before completing a hat-trick in SS6. After that he pulled further and further ahead increasing his lead from 4.8 seconds at the end of leg 1, to 27.5 seconds at the end of day 2.

Indeed the triple world champion dominated the second day, winning five of the six stages and beating Gronholm in every single one, 2.7 seconds up on him in SS7, before adding another 3.8 seconds to his lead in SS8 and another 1.3 seconds to his cushion in SS9.

Seb thus returned to the lunch time halt yesterday having increased his advantage from 4.8 seconds to 12.6 seconds. In the afternoon he continued to pull away and while Sordo won SS10, Loeb was only 0.3 seconds slower - and significantly 4.4 seconds up on Gronholm. The Citroen #1 driver then took another two stage wins in SS11 and SS12 and finished the day with a 'near' perfect run.

After pushing hard on Saturday to build a good cushion, Loeb just paced himself through the final four tests today [Sunday], winning the first one for good measure and then eventually coming home 23.7 seconds ahead of Gronholm.

It was his third win in succession in Corsica - and his seventh of the season with the C4 WRC and with three rounds to go the race for the 2007 drivers' title is now wide open.

Gronholm for his part looked strong initially however, as the event progressed he was unable to match Seb's pace.

Indeed despite pushing as hard as he could he was more often than not second best to the Frenchman and while that meant he was unable to win, he did have the measure of Sordo and the Spaniard was never really a concern.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Argentina, May 3-6 2007.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, Corsica. 12-14th October 2007.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, Corsica. 12-14th October 2007.
Isolde Holderied. Toyota GT86 CS-R3. Rallye Deutschland safety/zero car [Pic credit: Toyota]
Isolde Holderied. Toyota GT86 CS-R3. Rallye Deutschland safety/zero car [Pic credit: Toyota]
StephaneLefebvre (FRA) Thomas Dubois (FRA), Citroen DS3 R3, WRC3 winners
StephaneLefebvre (FRA) Thomas Dubois (FRA), Citroen DS3 R3, WRC3 winners
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorian Pulpea (ROM), Citroen Ds3 R3
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)

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