Loeb continues to dominate

Sebastien Loeb continued his domination of the Rallye de France, winning the opening two stages of Leg Two

Loeb continues to dominate

Leob has won all six stages run so far as the event reached its halfway point, and he now has more than a minute lead as he looks to win his home rally for the first time.

The newly crowned Champion vowed not to back off in pursuit of victory, even though his Citroen team have yet to wrap up the manufacturers' championship.

Citroen's chances of wrapping the title on their home event remain on course despite Francois Duval dropping from second to fifth after he suffered brake problems.

The Belgian lost 30 seconds to Loeb through SS5, the 36.24kms Vico-Col de Sarzoggiu, and he and co-driver Sven Smeets attempted to repair the problem on the road section before SS6. However, Duval dropped a minute more to the leader through the 26.04kms stage.

With Peugeot out of the points due to Marcus Gronholm's retirement yesterday, and new boy Nicolas Bernardi languishing in 12th, Citroen have to take just 14 points from the weekend. With Loeb leading and Duval in fifth, they would score the 14 points they need to clinch the title in Corsica, however duval cannot afford to drop any further back.

Toni Gardemeister has benefited from Duval's problems to move up to second and was second to Loeb on both of this morning's stages, just 5.7 and 3.6 seconds off the leader's time respectively.

The Subaru pairing of Petter Solberg and Stephane Sarrazin continue their close battle for third, with the former Sarrazin just 19.2 seconds adrift of the Norwegian.

Ford's Roman Kresta moved up to sixth after Dani Sola hit trouble on SS6. Sola went off the road and failed to make the end of the stage, which meant that the Ford privateer, who had impressed with the fourth fastest time on SS5, is currently classified 14th.

Armin Schwarz also had problems, choosing not to take part in SS6 and return to service to sort out the handling woes that lead to his front-left tyre disintegrating, destroying the corresponding corner on his car.

Schwarz' Skoda team believed the unpredictable handling of his Fabia WRC and excessive tyre wear was too dangerous for the German to continue, and he retired from the leg and the rally.

Top 20 leaderboard after SS6:

Pos  Driver        Make         Time
 1.  Loeb          Citroen      1h 56:24.7
 2.  Gardemeister  Ford         +   1:07.0
 3.  Solberg       Subaru       +   1:29.8
 4.  Sarrazin      Subaru       +   1:49.0
 5.  Duval         Citroen      +   2:07.6
 6.  Kresta        Ford         +   3:04.0
 7.  Bengue        Skoda        +   3:33.3
 8.  Pons          Citroen      +   3:46.4
 9.  Galli         Mitsubishi   +   4:04.6
10.  Warmbold      Ford         +   4:12.2
11.  Rovanpera     Mitsubishi   +   5:10.9
12.  Bernardi      Peugeot      +   5:12.3
13.  Kopecky       Skoda        +   6:53.1
14.  Sola          Ford         +   7:07.2
15.  Vouilloz      Skoda        +   7:59.5
16.  Panizzi       Mitsubishi   +   8:43.5
17.  Sordo         Citroen      +   9:06.7
18.  Baldacci      Fiat         +  11:05.3
19.  Betti         Renault      +  13:22.8
20.  Katajamaki    Suzuki       +  13:28.0
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Loeb delighted with 'perfect' start
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