STRASBOURG, France (AFP) –
Sebastian Loeb closed in on his record ninth world drivers title on Friday, the Citroen driver leading his home Rally of France by 13 seconds from Ford’s Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala.
Loeb’s teammate, Finn, Mikko Hirvonen, was placed third at 32sec.
The 38-year-old Loeb has a 61-point advantage over Hirvonen, the only rival who can prevent him winning the title, in the drivers’ standings.
He put himself in pole to collect on Sunday by claiming four of Friday’s eight special stages
“We made a very good tyre choice on Friday morning, and in the afternoon we continued to improve our car’s settings without making any mistakes. It’s looking good but 13 seconds with two days to go it’s not much,” reflected Loeb.
Loeb will take the title on Sunday if he finishes in front of Hirvonen, or one place behind the Finn as long as Hirvonen doesn’t win the rally and the Power Stage.
He will also be crowned champion again if Hirvonen fails to finish in the top eight.