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WRC NEWS 

Stage eight also cancelled

Stage eight of the Rally Japan has also been cancelled in the wake of Francois Duval's accident in SS6.

The competitors are now returning to the rally base Sapporo Dome where the two end-of-day superspecial stages will run as planned.

SS6 had to be halted when Duval hit a barrier, leaving his co-driver Patrick Pivato trapped in their Stobart Ford. Pivato has now been taken to hospital for further assessment of his injuries, but was conscious when extricated from the car. Duval was unhurt in the incident.

Only seven crews had made it through SS6 prior to the crash, and with SS7 already called off due to poor conditions following snowfall yesterday, the organisers decided to also cancel the second running through Pipao, which would have been SS8, and bring the field back to Sapporo.

Just six of the planned ten leg one stages will therefore run as scheduled.

Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen currently leads by 22.1 seconds from his teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, with Citroen's Sebastien Loeb now holding the third place he requires to clinch the world championship this weekend. Duval had been running second prior to his crash.

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