Solberg hits electricity pylon
Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:42a.m.
Sebastien Loeb of France moved closer to clinching his ninth straight world rally title after winning four stages on an incident-packed Saturday, with Norwegian driver Petter Solberg crashing into an electricity pylon after ploughing through a vineyard.
Loeb won the first two stages ahead of Citroen teammate Mikko Hirvonen, but Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland took the next before the day's fourth stage was canceled for security reasons due to overcrowding.
"I'm disappointed that it was cancelled, especially for the fans," Loeb said. "They wait for hours, they get stuck in traffic jams coming here and finally they see nothing. But that's security. There are people there to ensure that and if they decide there's a danger, they make this kind of decision."
Loeb had a blip on stage five, finishing fifth, but won two of the next three to extend his overnight lead over Latvala to 29.7 seconds.
"Everything's going well and I hope it lasts," Loeb said. "We have a small lead and the others haven't been able to come back, so that's positive.
The weather forecast (for Sunday) isn't great, so it's good to have a bit of a margin."
The Frenchman only needs to finish ahead of Hirvonen on Sunday's final day - featuring six stages - to guarantee the world crown. The Finn is in third place, 54 seconds behind Loeb.
Solberg crashed on the day's first stage - the Massif des Grands Crus-Ungersberg - when he went off course and into a vineyard before ramming the nose of his Ford into a concrete pylon. The pylon then dropped down and only just missed spectators nearby as they ran for cover.
But in a separate incident, two fans were taken to the hospital - one with a broken arm and another with a broken leg - when Nasser Al-Attiyah went off route.
French television channel Sport+ said they were watching from an area that was not designated for fans when the Qatari driver's Citroen hit them.
Watch the video to see Solberg’s crash.
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