Loeb's French domination continues

Sebastien Loeb continued to leave his rivals in his wake by winning the first two stages of the final leg of the Rallye de France

Loeb's French domination continues

The Frenchman has won every stage on the event so far, and is just two tests away from completing a 100 per cent stage lockout on the 12-stage event.

Despite going into his home event's final leg with a minute and a half in hand over Ford's Toni Gardemeister, Loeb has continued to push and extended his lead by a further nine seconds this morning.

However, it was disaster for his Citroen teammate Francois Duval who rolled his Xsara WRC in the first stage of the final leg and retired. The crash cost Citroen the chance of clinching the manufacturers championship on home soil.

The Belgian had suffered brake problems yesterday, dropping him from second to fourth last during leg two and was poised to challenge Subaru's Petter Solberg for the final podium spot. However, he was forced to retire following the roll in SS9, because the suspension was too badly damaged to continue.

Petter Solberg continues to hold down the final podium slot although he lost a few seconds in SS9 while having to back off to avoid Duval's stricken Xsara.

With Duval out, Stephane Sarrazin has moved up to fourth. If he can hold the position for the final two stages, it would equal Sarrazin's best WRC result. He is nearly two minutes ahead of Ford's Roman Kresta.

Alex Bengue and Xavier Pons move up to sixth and seventh respectively after Duval's retirement. Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli moved up into the points positions, with his transmission now fixed having lost fourth gear towards the end of the second leg.

However, Peugeot newboy Nicolas Bernardi has slashed the deficit to eighth-placed Galli from 27.0 to 11.2 seconds in this morning's opening stages.

Top 20 leaderboard after SS10:

Pos  Driver        Make          Time
 1.  Loeb          Citroen       3h 06:59.9
 2.  Gardemeister  Ford          +   1:39.0
 3.  Solberg       Subaru        +   2:06.8
 4.  Sarrazin      Subaru        +   2:52.7
 5.  Kresta        Ford          +   4:45.5
 6.  Bengue        Skoda         +   5:06.1
 7.  Pons          Citroen       +   5:19.6
 8.  Galli         Mitsubishi    +   6:08.2
 9.  Bernardi      Peugeot       +   6:19.4
10.  Rovanperä     Mitsubishi    +   8:09.5
11.  Vouilloz      Skoda         +   9:55.9
12.  Kopecky       Skoda         +   9:58.3
13.  Warmbold      Ford          +  11:02.8
14.  Baldacci      Fiat          +  17:41.8
15.  Sordo         Citroen       +  20:54.4
16.  Katajamaki    Suzuki        +  21:17.1
17.  Latvala       Subaru        +  21:18.7
18.  Leandri       Subaru        +  25:11.1
19.  Aava          Suzuki        +  26:07.6
20.  Rautenbach    Citroen       +  26:08.6
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