Loeb on course to wrap up title
Sebastien Loeb is on course to collect his ninth World Rally Championship title after taking control of the Rallye de France Alsace on Friday.
The 38-year-old only needs to finish ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to claim this year's crown and he put himself in a great position to do so by winning four of the day's seven stages.
Loeb, who has won every title since 2004, finished the second day of the rally 16.1 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta RS of Jari-Matti Latvala, who won the other three stages of the day.
Hirvonen is down in third place, 32.6 seconds off Loeb's pace-setting time, knowing that he must finish ahead of the Frenchman to take the fight for the title onto the Rally d'Italia later this month.
A repeat of Loeb's title success in his home country two years ago now looks the more likely outcome and, with the reigning champion only entering the championship on a part-time basis next season, it would be fitting for him to retain his championship in front of his compatriots once again.