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Loeb on brink of seventh title

Sebastien Loeb, Citroen, France 2010Sebastien Loeb is within sight of his seventh consecutive World Rally Championship title, as he continues to hold a comfortable lead in the Rally of France.

The Frenchman just has to complete two more stages to clinch his title, and his 60th rally win, and is still 37.8 seconds in front despite driving very cautiously this morning.

"We had a good lead so I didn't take any risks," said Loeb. "It's not easy to drive in these conditions, because now I've backed off and it's much more difficult to be concentrated."

Loeb's progress continues to be more serene than his pursuers. His Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo had a scare after the Haguenau stage, when he had to change a water hose having reached the finish with steam pouring from his car.

But the Spaniard remains secure in second, with Petter Solberg (Solberg Citroen) now 41.7s adrift after a quick trip off the road on the Bitche stage.

That allowed Jari-Matti Latvala - whose Ford picked up a little cosmetic damage in a brush with the scenery on Haguenau - to close to within 14.2s of the Citroen, though a trouble-free run for Solberg should still see him retain third with only two stages left.

The closest battle in the top 10 is Federico Villagra and Matthew Wilson's fight for seventh, with the Munchi's Ford now 15.2s clear of the Stobart example after Wilson overshot a corner on Bitche.

Pos  Driver              Car        Time/Gap
 1.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen  3h02m32.6s
 2.  Dani Sordo          Citroen     + 37.8s
 3.  Petter Solberg      Citroen   + 1m19.5s
 4.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford      + 1m33.7s
 5.  Mikko Hirvonen      Ford      + 3m46.9s
 6.  Sebastien Ogier     Citroen  + 11m57.9s
 7.  Federico Villagra   Ford     + 14m11.8s
 8.  Matthew Wilson      Ford     + 14m27.0s
 9.  Henning Solberg     Ford     + 16m32.1s
10.  Patrik Sandell      Skoda    + 16m59.7s
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