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Loeb extends lead in Mexico heading into last day

(Reuters) - World champion Sebastien Loeb extended his commanding lead over his rivals after the second leg of Rally Mexico on Saturday.

The Frenchman won two of Saturday's eight stages to finish the day leading his Citroen team mate Mikko Hirvonen by 36.2 seconds.

Only one other driver was within two minutes of Loeb, who has won in Mexico each of the past five years and looks certain to make it six, with just four stages to go on Sunday, although one of them is 54 kilometres long

"Now we have a good and comfortable situation but there is still a long way to go and a 54-kilometre stage so still nothing is done," said the eight-times world champion.

"It's a rally where I have had a lot of success and I hope that continues tomorrow."

Hirvonen conceded that Loeb had the rally in control.

"We're maintaining our position, there is no need to have a big push," he said.

"Sebastien has been a little bit faster than me and he's so far ahead that even if I take massive risks I couldn't catch him by driving. The most important thing is to finish the rally and keep my position."

Jari-Matti Latvala ended the day third, one minute 53 seconds behind the runaway leader. The Finn's chances of winning were ruined when he suffered a puncture in the mountains of central Mexico

"It's really good to see our car is very competitive," said Latvala. "Without the problems we've had things could be really good."

Petter Solberg, who briefly led on Friday before puncturing a tire, ended the day fourth after overcoming brake problems in the morning. Fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg slipped back to fifth and Estonia's Ott Tanak was sixth.

The rally is the third round of the championship, which Loeb leads with 39 points to Hirvonen's 32.

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford; Please double-click on the newslink:; for more rallying stories; for more sports stories)

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