Eight-time champion Loeb stretches lead in Monte Carlo Rally

    Sebastien Loeb powers his Citroen through stage 11 of the Monte Carlo Rally.

    Story highlights

    • Eight-time reigning champion Sebastien Loeb dominates in Monte Carlo Rally
    • Loeb leads season-opener by over two minutes after three days
    • Loeb is a five-time winner of the traditional rallying classic
    • Dani Sordo in a Mini is in second place heading into day four
    Sebastien Loeb continued to dominate the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally Friday, stretching his lead in testing conditions.
    The eight-time defending world champion has won eight of the 13 special stages since the start in Valence Wednesday.
    The Citroen driver did not have things all his own way on day three, finishing sixth on stage 11 and second on the 12th and 13th.
    But he had built a comfortable cushion of two minutes 12 seconds over second-placed Dani Sordo of Spain in his Mini.
    "It's been a very difficult day," said five-time Monte Carlo winner Loeb.
    "It was hard to make the right tire choice this morning and I was not taking any risks because I really want to get to Monaco tonight so there could be not mistakes now," he told the official World Rallying Championship website.
    Norway's Petter Solberg (Ford) won stage 11 at the start of the day to temporarily move ahead of Sordo, but he could not maintain that momentum and slipped back to third, more than a minute behind him.
    Mikko Hirvonen of Finland stepped up to claim victories on stages 12 and 13 ahead of Loeb, but he remained in fourth spot overall, three minutes 43 seconds behind the leader.
    Russia's Novikov Evgeny (M-Sport Ford) was fifth.