JYVASKYLA (Finland): Four-time World champion Sebastien Loeb of France won the Rally Finland on Sunday for the first time, closing in on the overall championship lead.

Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, the overall leader, finished nine seconds behind in second place after 340 km of special stages.

The 34-year-old Frenchman is now just one point behind Hirvonen in the World championship standings. Ford driver Hirvonen, 28, has 67 points against Loeb’s 66, with six events left.

Australian Chris Atkinson, in a Subaru, kept his third place during the last stages. Atkinson also moved to third overall with 37 points, two ahead of Spain’s Daniel Sordo. Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala is a further point behind. — AP

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