Finland's Mikko Hirvonen has maintained his lead in the Rally of Italy

Last Updated: 20/10/12 6:34pm

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Mads Ostberg: Four stage wins on Saturday

Mads Ostberg: Four stage wins on Saturday

Sky Bet

Finland's Mikko Hirvonen maintained his lead in the Rally of Italy despite not winning any of Saturday's six stages.

The Citroen driver ended the day one minute 28.2 seconds clear of Russia's Evgeny Novikov in a Ford Fiesta.

Estonia's Ott Tanak, in another Ford, is in third spot, 2:20.6 off the pace.

Hirvonen had taken control by winning half of the opening eight stages but he was content to let Mads Ostberg take centre stage.

The Norwegian won four of the day's six special stages - SS9, SS11, SS12 and SS14 - to move up to fourth position in his Ford Fiesta, although he is still 3:48.3 behind Hirvonen.

"I'm very happy with the day, everything is working well and we've been able to push without doing anything stupid," said Ostberg.

Sebastien Loeb, who claimed his ninth successive world title on home ground in France a fortnight ago, crashed his Citroen during Friday's third special stage.

Hirvonen should now claim his first win in over a year if he safely negotiates Sunday's final two stages.

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