Loeb gets closer to win in Finland

France's Sebastien Loeb, driving his Citroën C4, held his lead over Finland's Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) on Saturday. He now has to defend a 18-second lead on Sunday to become the first non-Finn to win the Rally of Finland since 2003.


JYVASKULA - Four-times world champion Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead on the second day of the Rally of Finland on Saturday.

The Frenchman, 14 seconds ahead overnight, moved 18 seconds clear of Mikko Hirvonen after the Finn experienced problems with his Ford on the day's penultimate stage. Australian Chris Atkinson (Subaru) was third.

"I think something was wrong with the handbrake," Hirvonen told reporters.

"Something similar happened in (the race in) Turkey. We just sat there and lost time before we could get the engine going."

Loeb won four of the day's 10 stages in his Citroen, with 10 more due to follow on the final day on Sunday.

The Frenchman trails Hirvonen by three points in the overall drivers' standings, with Finn Jari-Matti Latvala in third spot 25 points off the pace.

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