Loeb grabs lead in last race of full-time career

Last updated 10:13 11/11/2012
Hayden Paddon
Honza Fronek
HAYDEN PADDON: In action during the Rally of Spain.

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Nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb is poised to put a perfect finish to his full-time racing career after taking the lead of the Rally of Spain through day two.

Loeb, who plans to limit his appearances on the rally circuit next season, took advantage of overnight leader Mads Ostberg's accident in the morning's second stage to move in front.

The Citroen driver will look to add to his seven previous wins here on Sunday, entering the last day with a 27-second lead over Jari-Matti Latvala.

"I'm having to push because Jari-Matti is pushing hard," Loeb said.

Ostberg fell to fifth place, 1 minute, 31.4 seconds off Loeb's pace. Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak both slipped ahead of the Norwegian into third and fourth respectively.

"It's been absolutely horrible for me," Ostberg said. "I have not got a clue what is happening. There must be something wrong because the car is impossible to drive."

The rally in the northeastern region of Catalonia has been affected by a muddy course caused by heavy rainfall on Friday.

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon made a superb comeback after being forced to retire on day one, winning every stage in the Super 2000 category.

"After yesterday's disappointment, it was hard to get back into the groove having dropped down the leader board. But once we started the first stage the pleasure of driving took over and I really enjoyed the day," said Paddon.

"I know there are places where we can go faster and commit more to the pace notes, but this will come with time."

Overall, Irishman Craig Breen still leads the SWRC category, second is Swede PG Andersson, three minutes behind, with Paddon placed fifth.

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- AP

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