Third placed Petter Solberg was the fastest driver through Sunday's opening stage - a short sprint through the streets of Sebastien Loeb's birth town, Haguenau.
And with Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala just 20 seconds behind him at the start of the day, Solberg had good reason to put his foot down.
In the event the Finn completed the 4.2km dash in the third quickest time - 0.8sec slower than Petter - but he could have been quicker had he not side-swiped a hay bale chicane near the finish. His car escaped with a broken side window but no significant damage.
Dani Sordo completed the stage with some ominous smoke coming from his C4 WRC. Reports from the road section to SS17 suggest this was due to a leaking water hose which Sordo has been able to fix.
With a rally lead of more than 40 seconds, Sebastien Loeb completed in the fourth fastest time, 1.3 seconds slower than Solberg.
Following his retirement on Saturday, Citroen Junior team driver Kimi Raikkonen elected not to restart Sunday’s competition.
Click: wrc.com/News SS17
The battle for third on Rallye de France intensified on Sunday's second test, when an off road excursion for Petter Solberg allowed Jari-Matti Latvala to take a big step closer to the final step of the podium.
Solberg began the 24km stage at the *****e Camp military proving ground 20.8sec ahead of the chasing Finn, but lost around 10 seconds when he drove his Citroen C4 WRC off the road. He completed the stage with his car covered in mud but undamaged. “It’s very bad,” said Solberg, “I think Latvala can take a lot of time here.”
Sure enough Latvala was quicker, setting the second fastest time and reducing the gap to Solberg to 14.2 seconds with two stages to go. “We are getting closer,” said Latvala, “But running behind in the road order means there’s more and more mud on the corners and some sections were very, very slippery.”
Citroen Total team driver Dani Sordo set the fastest time. Heading to Sunday’s midpoint regroup his team-mate Sebastien Loeb’s rally lead stood at 37.8sec.
Click: wrc.com/News SS18
Rally organisers have cancelled the penultimate stage of Rallye de France - the repeat of the 24km *****e Camp - after fears over spectator safety.
Huge crowds had flocked to the military proving ground to watch the action, but with concerns over their positioning the decision was taken to scrap the test.
Instead, competitors will take an alterative route to the start of the final, decisive stage in Haguenau.
Click: wrc.com/News SS19
End of Day 3
Citroen C4 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb has won the Rallye de France, and with it a sensational seventh consecutive FIA World Rally Championship drivers' title.
Today’s victory was the 60th at World Championship level for Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena, who sealed the emotional win on a stage in Haguenau - the town in which Loeb was born 36 years ago.
Loeb led the rally from beginning to end, finishing 35.7sec ahead of the man in second place, his Citroen Total team-mate Dani Sordo. The team result gives Citroen an assailable lead in the manufacturers’ championship, meaning the FIA crown is heading to Paris for the sixth time.
Citroen privateer Petter Solberg finished third, 41.1sec behind Sordo, to complete a clean sweep of the podium for the French manufacturer.
Ford works team driver Jari-Matti Latvala finished fourth while his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen completed the top five places.
Click: wrc.com/News SS20