Sebastien Loeb insists his win on Rally Finland was one of his best ever after the Citroen driver clinched honours on the event for a second time.
Loeb saw off the challenge of Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala and Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier to claim victory despite being forced to run first on the road through the final full day of action.
Extending his advantage over the pair behind, Loeb carried Citroen to its seventh successive victory this season to extend his championship lead to 27 points but the multiple title winner insisted it had been far from easy.
“It's one of the greatest wins of my career,” he said. “But I had to work for it and it took a long time before it took shape. Sometimes you have to go beyond the limits to open up the gap. I felt really good on the roads with the Citroen DS3 WRC, even more so than in the past with the Xsara or the C4. My aim was to be in the lead in the world championship before the events on tarmac. I've achieved it, but there are still a lot of points up for grabs.”
Although a puncture late on meant Ogier was unable to challenge Latvala for second place, team boss Olivier Quesnel said he was pleased with the result.
“Citroen has continued to privilege the sporting aspect,” he said. “We fully assume our decision to give our two drivers free rein to race as they wanted. Each crew had its own strategy and could apply it depending on the circumstances. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena mastered the situation perfectly.
“Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were in a position to fight for victory until their puncture. Our crews have achieved a remarkable new exploit, and I want to congratulate the technical team for the work done on the DS3 which has shown again an incredible level of performance and reliability.”