2 Aug 2009

Hirvonen extends Finnish Rally lead over Loeb

9:46 am on 2 August 2009

The Finnish driver Mikko Hirvonen is dominating his home rally, establishing a commanding lead of 32 seconds over the world champion Sebastien Loeb going into the final day.

The Ford driver held a 3.3 second lead overnight and increased his advantage over the Frenchman Loeb on all four morning stages and all but the final stage, when Loeb pulled some time back.

Only four stages comprising 47.44 competitive kilometres remain.

On the day's final stage, the Vaarinmaja course, former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen had to retire as he rolled his Abarth Grande Punto S2000 off the road.

The Finn, making his WRC debut, was uninjured as was his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom.