sport

Loeb closes in after dominant day

Sebastien Loeb took control of the Rally of Spain as he looks to cap a ninth World Rally title with victory in the final event of the year.

The Frenchman will head into the last day with a 27-second lead over his rivals after surprise overnight leader Mads Ostberg suffered an accident in the morning's second stage.

Ostberg profited from Friday's heavy downpour to lead by 27.2secs but the Norweigian was quickly swallowed up by Loeb on Saturday following his early mishap.

From there Loeb was completely dominant in his Citroen as the event returned to the tarmac to leave his closest rival Jari-Matti Latvala to already concede defeat.

"I can't catch him," the Ford driver told the World Rally Championship's website.

"I'm not disappointed, that's the way it is. He's fantastic on tarmac. I need to work more and learn."

Loeb, who will only race on a part-time basis next season, was pleased with his day's work.

"It's been a good day for me, quite tricky conditions in the first loop with wet roads and slippery in some places," he said.

"There was a lot of gravel on the road and a risk of puncture but, okay, no problem. At the moment I am feeling well in the car.

"Jari-Matti was pushing very hard at the start of the day but for me the feeling was really good so I continued to push."

Mikko Hirvonen finished the day in third, one min 14.1secs off the pace, with Ott Tanak and Ostberg just behind in the race for a podium place.