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Loeb stretches lead with Catalunya win

  • Story Highlights
  • Sebastien Loeb of France wins Rally of Catalunya for fourth straight year
  • Citroen ace extends lead in world title race to 12 points over Mikko Hirvonen
  • Loeb's teammate Dani Sordo claims second place on home soil in Spain
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(CNN) -- Sebastien Loeb took a stranglehold on the world championship with his fourth successive victory in the Rally of Catalunya on Sunday.

Loeb (right) and co-driver Daniel Elena celebrate another success in Spain.

It stretched his title lead over Ford's Mikko Hirvonen to 12 points as he chases a fifth consecutive global crown.

The Citroen driver dominated the event from start to finish, eventually winning by a margin of 24.9 seconds from teammate Dani Sordo after taking a cautious approach on the final day to preserve his overnight lead of 27.7 seconds.

The Frenchman only took one stage win on the final six tests, having won 10 of the 12 stages over the opening two days, with Sordo and the Ford pair of Hirvonen and Francois Duval, who finished third and fourth respectively, sharing the honors on the tarmac roads.

Loeb was delighted to have made a big stride towards another title.

"It was really, really good for me," he told the Press Association.

"I cannot say it was easy - I had to push hard to make the difference with Dani and try to increase my lead."

Sordo's second on home soil enabled Citroen to extend their manufacturers' championship advantage over Ford to 17 points.

Norway's Petter Solberg took fifth for Subaru ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala in the Stobart Ford.

Solberg's teammate, Australian Chris Atkinson, was seventh with Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen picking up the final point.

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