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France - day 3: Home win puts Loeb on verge.

Per-Gunnar Andersson did not fare so well in the other SX4 WRC and finished under the SupeRally in 17th after going out in SS11. Conrad Rautenbach, Henning Solberg and Gareth Jones filled the three spaces between the Suzuki men.

Citroen's Dani Sordo and Subaru 'third' driver Brice Tirabasi were the two major retirements - the former crashed out on day 1 in SS3, while Tirabassi was forced out on the final day with mechanical problems.

In the Junior World Rally Championship category, Martin Prokop came through to take his third win of the season. The Czech led for most of the event and while he did lose the lead to 'wild card' runner Pierre Campana in the final stage on day 1, he re-took the position on Saturday morning. After that he was never really threatened.

Campana ended up taking the final spot on the podium, having slipped behind 2008 J-WRC champion, Sebastien Ogier in the last test.

Having thrown away an almost certain victory in Spain, Ogier opted for a cautious approach this weekend and drove with his head to make sure he picked up sufficient points to take the Junior title. In the end he did so with ease.

Of the other J-WRC runners Pierre Marche was fourth, followed by Aaron Burkart in fifth, Patrik Sandell in sixth and Florian Niegel in seventh. Kevin Abbring took the final J-WRC point in eighth.

The World Rally Championship now continues in two weeks time when the series returns to gravel for the penultimate event, the Rally Japan. The event, which runs from October 30 to November 2, is again based on the country's northernmost island of Hokkaido – but it has a new base in Sapporo and an entirely new route.

Despite Ford's tactics in Corsica, Japan is likely to be an historic event, as Loeb has an extremely good chance of taking that record fifth title in the 'Land of the Rising Sun'...


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Podium, Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Podium, 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
Vaclav Pech in his Mini John Cooper Works S2000 on day one of the Barum Czech Rally Zlin
Vaclav Pech in his Mini John Cooper Works S2000 on day two of the Barum Czech Rally Zlin
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]
Isolde Holderied [Pic credit: Toyota]
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Podium
Podium
Podium
Podium
Podium
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)

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