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Hirvonen leads in Finland as Raikkonen rolls

  • Story Highlights
  • Mikko Hirvonen extends his lead at the Rally of Finland to 32 seconds
  • The Ford Focus driver is hoping to win his home event for the first time
  • World champion Sebastien Loeb second after hitting a pot hole on stage 15
  • Formula One star Kimi Raikkonen crashes out on the final stage of the day
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(CNN) -- Mikko Hirvonen extended his lead at the Rally of Finland on Saturday to boost his hopes of a first victory in his home event, while Formula One star Kimi Raikkonen suffered a spectacular crash.

Mikko Hirvonen moved clear in his bid to win his home rally for the first time.

Mikko Hirvonen moved clear in his bid to win his home rally for the first time.

The Finn had a slender 3.3-second advantage over world champion Sebastien Loeb after Friday's racing, but opened up a commanding 32-second margin on the gravel roads near his home town of Jyvaskyla.

The 29-year-old, who leads the overall standings by one point from title rival Loeb, took advantage when the Frenchman hit a pot hole and damaged a tire on stage 15.

He won five of the day's first nine special stages in wet conditions as he seeks a third successive race victory following wins in Poland and Greece.

"It's been really good, everything has gone as planned," he told the official World Rally Championship Web site.

"It's a shame that Seb had a problem, otherwise we could have had a big fight all the way through. The plan for tomorrow is to continue like I am now. With this lead I don't need to take quite so many risks as I have been."

Loeb was prepared to admit defeat in his bid to win the race.

"There's nothing else to do but try to finish now," he said. "I took a lot of risks, but Mikko was always in front. I was a bit unlucky to have a puncture -- I was just in a rut in the middle of the road. After that it was too difficult to try and catch him. Now the game is over."

Hirvonen's Ford teammate Jari-Matti Latvala was third, one minute and eight seconds off the leading pace, while Loeb's Citroen colleague Dani Sordo was fourth -- 1:18 adrift.

Ferrari star Raikkonen, also racing on home soil during F1's four-week summer break, was one of two drivers to crash out during Saturday's closing stage 19.

Adapta Subaru's Mads Ostberg, who had been seventh at the time, took his Impreza WRC off the road and into a ditch.

Minutes later Raikkonen rolled his Fiat Abarth Grande Punto off the road at exactly the same place, narrowly missing Ostberg's car.

He had been classified as 15th overall when he went off, despite earlier suffering engine damage.

All About Mikko HirvonenSebastien LoebKimi RaikkonenFinlandMotorsports

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