- Associated Press - Saturday, August 25, 2012

TRIER, GERMANY (AP) - Eight-time world champion Sebastien Loeb closed in on his ninth Rally Germany victory on Saturday, when he claimed three stage wins for Citroen.

The Frenchman holds a commanding lead of 1 minute, 42.9 seconds over Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, after a day of crashes for the chasing pack.

Estonia’s Ott Tanak claimed his first championship stage wins by taking stages 10 and 11, but crashed out on the day’s last stage, when Spain’s Dani Sordo also had to retire because of coolant problems.

Sordo was the only other driver to deny Loeb a stage win.

Petter Solberg and Thierry Neuville, who were second and fourth, respectively, crashed out in stage nine.

Loeb leads the overall standings with 171 points, ahead of Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen on 128.

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