France - day 2: 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

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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
Volkswagen celebrates 2015 Monte Carlo 1-2-3 [credit: VW Media]
3th place Andreas Mikkelsen ,Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC, #9 Volkswagen Motorsport II)
1st place Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
2n place Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Michelin tyres
Robert Kubica

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