15 Feb 2009

Loeb extends lead over Hirvonen in Norwegian Rally

7:44 am on 15 February 2009

Five-time world champion Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead over Finn Mikko Hirvonen to 15 seconds after the second leg of the Norwegian Rally.

The Frenchman began the day with a 2.6 seconds lead over Hirvonen and held the advantage throughout the day despite running first on the snowy roads in the morning stages.

Loeb, who won 11 of last season's 15 rallies, took command from the start by topping all four of the morning stages before finishing in style by winning the final stage, a 1.5 kilometres sprint through the Hamar town centre.

The Citroen driver, whose only win on snow was the 2004 Swedish Rally, still has his work cut out on Sunday however, as the event stages its longest leg, 126 kilometres in total.

Hirvonen's team mate and compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala lies 43.2 seconds off the pace in third.