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Loeb dominates opening day in Corsica

  • Story Highlights
  • World champion Sebastien Loeb wins six stages on day one of Corsica Rally
  • The Frenchman holds a 32-second advantage over Mikko Hirvonen of Finland
  • Loeb leading Hirvonen by 12 points with just three races of season remaining
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(CNN) -- World champion Sebastien Loeb stormed to victory on all six stages on the opening day of the Rally of Corsica on Friday to stay on course for a fifth consecutive world title.

Loeb's Citroen is proving a class apart after the opening day of the Rally of Corsica.

Loeb's Citroen is proving a class apart after the opening day of the Rally of Corsica.

The Frenchman, who has won every edition of this race since 2005, finished the day with a 32-second advantage as his Citroen once again got the better of the Ford Focus of championship rival Mikko Hirvonen, who lies second overnight.

Loeb came into this race having taken a fourth successive Rally of Spain last weekend, a victory which gave him 96 points in the standings with Hirvonen trailing by 12 points with just three races left of the season.

"It's been a perfect day again," said Loeb who also won all six stages a week ago on the first day in Spain. "I've been pushing very hard but I've had no problems.

"Now we have a good lead but I feel so comfortable in the car I prefer to keep this same speed tomorrow rather than slow down and maybe lose concentration."

Hirvonen made the most of seeing Loeb's team-mate Dani Sordo retire for the day on stage three after damaging suspension when his Citroen clipped a wall.

However, the Finn admitted that Loeb's car was best-suited to the testing, asphalt surfaces. "I did try but he's too fast," said Hirvonen. "There's nothing much I could do. I've had a good day, I'm happy with the car and my driving; it's just not enough to get him."

Fellow-Ford driver Francois Duval was third, 34 seconds off the pace, but the Belgian veteran has a key role to play in winning constructors points.

"My position through the morning stages was hard and there was a lot of gravel on the road. Second and third places for Ford is good but I'll try to do more tomorrow," said Duval.

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