Loeb maintains Sardinia lead

Sebastien Loeb has maintained a comfortable advantage in Italy despite running first on the road this morning

Loeb maintains Sardinia lead

The world champion began the day with a 33.2-second cushion back to second place, and heads for service three stages later with a 35.4s lead.

But his cause was helped by a puncture for second-placed Petter Solberg, who trimmed 7s out of Loeb's lead on the opening Coiluna stage but then lost 11s to the works Citroen as he had to travel through the final kilometres of Monte Lerno with a flat tyre.

While Solberg remains within 37s of Loeb in third, it is now Mikko Hirvonen who is becoming the main threat to the leader. The Ford driver has closed in by 20s this morning and will start the afternoon 35s behind Loeb and 1.7s ahead of Solberg.

Sebastien Ogier is right in the fight too, running just 1.5s behind Solberg in fourth. The Frenchman was briefly third before admitting he was too cautious on SS11 Su Filigosu.

Mads Ostberg (Stobart Ford) and Dani Sordo (Mini) continue to fill the other top six spots.

Jari-Matti Latvala has won all three stages this morning in the second factory Ford, but is running over half an hour adrift of the lead under superally following his Friday crash.

Although Kris Meeke also returned for today in the second works Mini, he continued to grapple with throttle problems and stopped on SS11 with a reported water leak.

The top three S2000 cars are still in the top 10 overall, with class leader Ott Tanak running an outstanding seventh and pulling away from Juho Hanninen and Martin Prokop.

Leading positions after SS11: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2h13m14.3s 2. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 35.4s 3. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 37.1s 4. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 38.6s 5. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 1m16.9s 6. Dani Sordo Mini + 1m50.1s 7. Ott Tanak MM Ford + 3m42.3s 8. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 4m30.7s 9. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda + 4m35.6s 10. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 5m14.2s 
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