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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Loeb boosts title hopes
Sebastien Loeb
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb won the Rally of Sanremo to close to within two points of the championship lead.

Loeb's fellow Frenchman Gilles Panizzi edged out Markko Martin to take second, with Spain's Carlos Sainz fourth.

Richard Burns remained ahead in the overall standings by gaining two places late on to take seventh in his Peugeot.

Loeb secured his third victory of the season, and the fourth of his career, during exciting closing stages.

Burns was relieved to have picked up some points and maintain his place at the top of the driver standings.

Marcus was fantastic and then ruined everything with a stupid mistake on the last stage
Peugeot team boss Corrado Provera

"I'm very glad to get to the end and even happier to score some points," said the Englishman.

"I can't remember an event where I felt so little confidence in myself or the car.

"It got a bit better on the final day, but when the rain came down, I just concentrated on being careful. Having endured a tough weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was finish it in a ditch."

Rain came down during the final two special stages and only Panizzi put on wet-weather tyres.

The decision bore fruit as he won the final stage, having taken 90 seconds out of Martin over just 21 kilometres, to finish 40 seconds behind Loeb.

Panizzi's Peugeot team-mate Marcus Gronholm, who was third overnight, crashed in the final special stage and was forced to retire.

"Marcus was fantastic and then ruined everything with a stupid mistake on the last stage when he went off the road," said Peugeot team boss Corrado Provera.




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