2 Nov 2008

Loeb closes in on fifth world title in Japan

4:06 pm on 2 November 2008

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb is closing in on a record fifth straight world title after taking a firm grip on third place in the Japan Rally.

The Frenchman will win his fifth crown with a podium finish.

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen leads from team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala with just four stages left.

Subaru's Chris Atkinson is fourth.

If Loeb continues in third, he'll secure his fifth consecutive world title.

Loeb leads Hirvonen by 14 points in the title race with one event left after Japan.