He may have led from start-to-finish and won by just over two minutes, but Citroen's Sebastian Loeb is adamant his ninth win on Rallye Deutschland was far from easy.
Loeb dominated the latest round in the 2012 World Rally
Championship, as expected, and while many of his rivals succumbed in the daunting Arena Panzerplatte test, Seb was quickest on both runs through it. In the end he won nine of the events 15 stages, including the event ending Power Stage. He now heads to Wales Rally GB ever closer to clinching the 2012 WRC drivers' title and with a 54-point cushion something would have to go drastically wrong for him not to claim his ninth crown.
“I took some holidays between the rallies in Finland and Germany and it seems to have done me the world of good!” Loeb joked at the finish, after taking his seventh win of the season and his fifth in succession.
“These three days have gone very well and it was nearly a perfect weekend. It was not easy not to make any mistakes. The tyre choice was complicated and some stages were very narrow. The conditions were really not very easy too. But I had a good feeling with the car and we were the quickest. We were also the most consistent. The key was maybe not to make any mistakes.
“Some competitors were capable of rivalling us in terms of out-and-out performance, but they were caught out by the many pitfalls of the route. Once I had built up a good lead, I just had to avoid making any mistakes.”
Asked if he felt under any pressure at any point, Loeb added that he always thought he had enough in reserve to respond if needed.
“I had the feeling that, whenever I was pushing hard, I could make a difference. Then it's a question of not making any mistakes. For sure I felt that the others were pushing, but there was this gap [from quite early on] and I was a bit more comfortable,” he explained.
“On Saturday morning we had a good lead and from that point we knew we could relax a bit. When I was able to further extend my lead I could take it easy. On the long stage [SS9 and SS12] we just kept going – and after the second Baumholder stage we knew we would be okay.”
As for the title race, Loeb is feeling increasingly confident: “As each rally goes by, we are getting closer to our goal of a ninth title.
“With a fifty four point lead and four races left, things are looking good,” he concluded.