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Hirvonen leads way after Loeb crashes out

  • Story Highlights
  • Finn Mikko Hirvonen leads the Acropolis Rally going into Sunday's final day
  • Hirvonen's Ford holds a one minute, 40 seconds lead over Sebastien Ogier
  • World championship leader Sebastien Loeb crashes out while in third position
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(CNN) -- Mikko Hirvonen leads the Acropolis Rally in Greece going into Sunday's final day, after world champion Sebastien Loeb crashed out.

Hirvonen's Ford Focus looks poised to complete victory in the Acropolis Rally on Sunday.

Hirvonen's Ford Focus looks poised to complete victory in the Acropolis Rally on Sunday.

Hirvonen's Ford Focus holds a healthy advantage of one minute, 40 seconds over Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, with the Finn's Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala back in third place after 12 special stages.

Five-time world champion Loeb was forced to pull out after suffering a crash that the Frenchman claimed "destroyed" his Citroen C4.

Loeb, who won the first five rallies of the season, dramatically went off the road after 8km of the 17.25km seventh stage on a high-speed section.

The Frenchman, and co-driver Daniel Elena, both emerged unscathed from the crash, but Loeb admitted to reporters: "It was my fault. The car rolled over five or six times and is totally destroyed. The race is over but we are OK and that is the main thing."

Loeb had been third overall before the crash and his non-finish is his first since Sweden in 2008 and only his third since 2006.

A victory will take Hirvonen to within seven points of Loeb in the overall standings, but the Finn said: "There will be no change. I'll try to keep the same rhythm but it's so rough and slippery you can have a puncture anywhere in this race."

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