Citroen's Sebastien Loeb was officially crowned the 2012 FIA World Rally champion on Friday night during the FIA's prize giving gala held in Istanbul.
Loeb blitzed the field again in 2012, securing the title for the ninth time on his home event in Alsace.
Although he will continue with the team next season, he is only planning to take in four events after his decision to end his full-time participation in the WRC. He is now hoping to compete with Citroen in the World Touring Car Championship, with the two parties investigating a possible programme for 2014-15.
“I feel big emotion because it's the end of a beautiful story. Daniel [Elena – my co-driver] and I had amazing and fantastic years with our team, we won rallies and Championships and have had incredible moments,” Loeb said.
“It's never easy to take the decision to stop and I feel moved because it's the end of an era. But we have fresh challenges with Citroen now and I can't wait to start this new adventure and try to win again with them.
“This trophy is for all the members of the Citroen Racing team because they have also made the story.”
Citroen team principal Yves Matton meanwhile accepted the Manufacturers' trophy, the fifth year in a row the Citroen Total World Rally Team has come out top. In total the French manufacturer has now won 90 rallies and eight Manufacturers' titles.
“For my first year as team director I couldn't expect this kind of success!" Matton admitted. "We won the Manufacturer's title, the Drivers' and Co-drivers' title with Sebastien and Daniel, and Mikko [Hirvonen] and Jarmo [Lehtinen] are vice-World Champions. I'm really satisfied with the work of the whole team, but also really proud because of the strong competition in the Championship.
"The aim will be the same next year now and we will do our best to try to win again,” he added.