Loeb's Lead Extended in Cyprus

Sebastien Loeb increased his lead by a further minute after winning the first three stages on Leg Two of the Rally Cyprus

Loeb's Lead Extended in Cyprus

Loeb now holds a three-minute advantage over second-placed privateer Manfred Stohl, in what is proving to be a demonstration drive by the reigning World Champion.

The excitement of the rally now lies in the battle for second, with Peugeot's Markko Martin rapidly closing on Stohl and third-placed Henning Solberg.

Martin, recovering from a puncture sustained on yesterday's first stage, was only three tenths of a second off Loeb on SS7 and has reduced the deficit to Stohl to 42 seconds from 1 minute 12 seconds. Martin is within an inch of taking the final podium position off Solberg, being only 1.7 seconds behind the Norwegian.

Further back Ford's Toni Gardemeister has overhauled Mitsubishi's Harri Rovanpera for seventh, after being second quickest on SS8 and SS9. Gardemeister has his sights set on fifth placed Antony Warmbold, who lies only 36 seconds up the road.

Roman Kresta has passed Tuohino for ninth, but has more than a minute and a half to make up if he is to get into the points.

Chris Atkinson restarted the rally after his Subaru team fixed yesterday's clutch problems. He is in 15th, with 20 minutes of time-penalties for missing four of yesterday's stages.

Petter Solberg and Marcus Gronholm have chosen not to restart, after retiring yesterday.

Rally Cyprus leaderboard after SS9 (Galatareia 1)

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Loeb Citroen 2:48:40.4 2. Stohl Citroen + 3:07.6 3. Solberg Ford + 3:48.0 4. Martin Peugeot + 3:49.7 5. Warmbold Ford + 5:00.1 6. Duval Citroen + 5:17.3 7. Gardemeister Ford + 5:36.7 8. Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 5:56.0 9. Kresta Ford + 7:27.3 10. Tuohino Skoda + 11:34.6 
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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Tim Redmayne
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