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Loeb closes on fourth straight Corsica win

  • Story Highlights
  • Sebastien Loeb leads Rally of Corsica by 52.4 seconds with a day remaining
  • Loeb's main title rival Mikko Hirvonen of Finland holds second position
  • Loeb is chasing fifth consecutive world rally championship crown
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(CNN) -- World champion Sebastien Loeb is closing fast on a fourth straight Rally of Corsica victory as he goes into the final day with a commanding 52.4 second lead over world title rival Mikko Hirvonen.

Loeb powers to another stage win at the Corsican Rally.

The French Citroen driver, who is also chasing a fifth successive global crown, won five of Saturday's six stages with Belgian Francois Duval breaking his monopoly on the final leg to take third overall.

Loeb, who leads Hirvonen by 12 points with three rounds remaining, admitted he had half an eye on the wider picture as he eased up at the end of the day.

"I tried to slow down a bit, so it's okay not to be fastest," the Frenchman told the Press Association.

"The day has been pretty much perfect. We didn't want to take any risks, especially with punctures, so we preferred to take two spares.

"My job is to do a good rally here, and that's what I'll do tomorrow.

"I'll try to stay on the road and not make any mistakes."

Hirvonen is also keeping his ever-diminishing title hopes alive with a solid drive and was happy to be ahead of his teammate Duval.

"We haven't taken all the risks we could but we've been driving at a good speed. For tomorrow I'll try to keep my second place; thinking about the title fight that's the most important thing. Hopefully I can finish as it is and minimize the damage," said the Finn.

Back in fourth spot was Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, but nearly two minutes behind Loeb.

The Subarus of Norway's Petter Solberg, the 2003 Corsica winner, and Chris Atkinson held fifth and sixth places.

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