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Loeb wins X Games as Gronholm hospitalised
2 July 2012
Sebastien Loeb followed up his recent run of success in the World Rally Championship with victory in his outing at the annual X Games event – albeit on a weekend overshadowed by two huge accidents over the course of the weekend.
In the first incident Toomas Heikkinen suffered a broken ankle when he failed to clear a jump and smashed head-on into a landing ramp during Friday practice while Loeb's former WRC rival Marcus Gronholm was then hospitalised after being knocked unconscious in an accident on Saturday when his Ford Fiesta collided with an exposed concrete post.
Gronholm would remain in hospital on Sunday night for ongoing observation and further tests, with doctors reporting that the Finn was 'alert and talking and has full limb mobility'.
With Gronholm understandably ruled out of the event, and with Travis Pastrana then knocked out in the first heat when a collision with British driver Andy Scott saw him forced into retirement, Loeb was given a clear run to victory in the final as he dominated proceedings at the wheel of his specially-built Citroen DS3.
It gave the Frenchman victory on his X Games debut, although he admitted that it wasn't the same without the challenging of Gronholm on track.
"We know it's a high level event and I'm really pleased to win," he said, "but maybe my main rival, Marcus Grönholm, wasn't able to race. I'm just happy he's okay."
Behind gold medal winner Loeb, Ken Block took second place despite being forced to run the final three laps of the race with a punctured rear tyre while defending champion Brian Deegan took third and the Bronze medal.
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