Rallying: Loeb surges past unlucky Hirvonen

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The Independent Online

Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead in the World Rally Championship standings to seven points over Mikko Hirvonen after completing a consummate victory in Sardinia yesterday.

The Frenchman began the fifth race of the season expecting a tough time in his role as first man on track – therefore clearing a line through the dusty gravel for drivers behind – but instead set competitive times from start to finish on his way to victory by 11 seconds from Ford's Hirvonen, who suffered a puncture when battling with Loeb for the lead.