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Loeb regains lead as Hirvonen spins


Sebastien Loeb heads for the final test of Rally NZ with a solid lead after a dramatic penultimate stage on the Whaanga Coast.

High drama on the second run through the Whaanga Coast stage near Raglan this afternoon as Mikko Hirvonen spins and Sebastien Loeb moves back into the lead of Repco Rally New Zealand by a solid margin.

Hirvonen (Ford Focus RS) was leading the rally when he had a costly spin near the end of the penultimate stage on the Whaanga Coast.

He was slow getting back up to speed, and Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) pulled into the time control at the end of the stage right behind the Ford.

The spin and slowness of the Ford as he recovered has seen Hirvonen fall to 41 seconds behind Loeb as the cars head back to Mystery Creek and the final test, the super-special.

Earlier in the stage, Ford’s second driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of the rally.

Till he spun, Hirvonen was looking reasonably secure after Loeb lost a big chunk of time with a spin on the morning’s first stage at Te Hutewai.

Hirvonen has dropped to third behind the Citroens of Loeb and Dani Sordo.

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