Rally: Loeb extends lead over rival Gronholm

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The Independent Online

The defending world rally champion Sébastien Loeb won the Tour of Corsica rally yesterday, extending his lead over Marcus Gronholm at the top of the standings.

It was a third successive win for the Frenchman, who has been on all five race podiums so far this season.

Loeb won six of 12 special stages over the three days and completed the rally in a time of 3 hours, 43 minutes and 5.4 seconds - 29 seconds quicker than Gronholm, who won three special stages, including the final two.

Loeb's Citroën team-mate, Dani Sordo, won two specials and was 1:48.7 back in third for his second consecutive podium finish after a fierce battle to hold off a challenge from Gronholm's Ford team-mate and fellow Finn, Mikko Hirvonen, by 10.5 seconds.

Hirvonen, who won one special stage, finished a season-best fourth, while France's Alexandre Bengue was fifth in a Peugeot.

Loeb now has 23 career race victories, three fewer than the record of the great Spaniard Carlos Sainz, and has 46 points in the overall standings, 11 more than Gronholm and 26 more than Sordo.