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Posted: Saturday October 6, 2012 2:32PM ; Updated: Saturday October 6, 2012 2:32PM

Loeb keeps overall lead at Rally France

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Sebastien Loeb needs only to finish ahead of Mikko Hirvonen on Sunday to guarantee the world crown.
Sebastien Loeb needs only to finish ahead of Mikko Hirvonen on Sunday to guarantee the world crown.
Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

STRASBOURG, France (AP) -- Sebastien Loeb of France won four stages Saturday to move closer to his ninth straight world rally title. His strong showing came on a day when Petter Solberg of Norway crashed into an electricity pylon after driving through a vineyard.

Loeb won the first two stages ahead of Citroen teammate Mikko Hirvonen. Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland took the next before the fourth stage was canceled because the large crowds raised security concerns.

Loeb finished fifth in the fifth stage but won the next three to extend his overnight lead over Latvala to 29.7 seconds.

The Frenchman needs only to finish ahead of Hirvonen in Sunday's six-stage final day to guarantee the world crown. The Finn is in third place, 54 seconds behind Loeb.

Solberg went off course into a vineyard in the first stage, ramming his Ford into a pylon. The concrete pylon dropped, just missing spectators who ran for cover.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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