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Loeb: It's going to be tight

Sebastien Loeb predicts a close fight for the WRC title after moving level on points with Mikko Hirvonen
Sebastien Loeb admits that the result of Rally Portugal has shown that the fight for the 2011 WRC title is going to be 'closely-fought' after he moved level on points with championship leader Mikko Hirvonen.

Loeb was forced to settle for second behind Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier after losing time in dust thrown up by Hirvonen's Ford on the second day when the Finn stopped to change a puncture, which dropped him too far behind his fellow Frenchman in the fight for victory.

Loeb was however able to pick up three bonus points for winning the Power Stage to add to the 18 he secured for taking second place and is now level in the championship with Hirvonen – admitting afterwards that the extra points could prove crucial at the end of the season.

“Our victory hopes were dashed yesterday when we lost thirty seconds in the dust thrown up by Mikko's car,” he said at the finish. “Second was the best we could hope for. I knew it wouldn't be easy to score the three bonus points in the Power Stage - but we did!

“It's a positive result for us and for the whole team. These points will be very precious as the championship looks like being a very closely-fought one.”



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Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
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Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
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Jamnar - Unregistered

March 31, 2011 10:07 PM

I think Loeb has been needing a serious challenge to the championship for a while now. Latvala, Hirvonen, and Ogier have been getting better to the point that they are taking turns winning stages and rallys. Solberg is finally on somewhat level ground so far as a car is concerned and is showing he's still a top contender. Loeb will have to push himself hard and improve even further with his driving to get the championship this year. If he can pull this off this year he will be able to retire from WRC having shown without a doubt that he is the best in the world and not simply having had it easy the last few years because of a lack of serious competition. I only wish I could watch the action here in my country since this will probably be the best action to have been seen in WRC for years.



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