Sebastien Loeb became the most successful driver in the history of the Rallye Monte Carlo on Sunday, when he took the victory in his Citroen
C4 WRC car, the fifth time he has managed the feat.
Last year he equalled the number of Monte wins held by Sandro Munari, Walter Rohrl and Tommi Makinen, but now he has gone one better and in addition to winning this year's 76th edition, he has also come out top in 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2003. He also won in 2002 too, but later lost that victory on a technicality a few days after the event.
Proceedings got underway on Thursday and Loeb inititally lost out to his team-mate, Daniel Sordo
in SS1 and was 3.8 seconds slower.
He soon bounced back though and was 16.5 seconds up on the Spaniard in SS2 and as such he finished the short opening day with a 12.7 second advantage.
Seb was then fastest straight out of the blocks on Friday and he won two of the three stages on the first loop to almost double his overnight lead to 23.5 seconds. In the afternoon he then completed a clean sweep - and with Sordo compromised by a broken front differential, he finished day 2 56.6 seconds ahead and by all accounts well on his way to securing 'gold'.
Day 3 saw the four-time world champion continue to push and he won four of the six stages, to take his tally to ten stages wins from a possible 14. Furthermore with Sordo forced out in SS11 due to engine problems, Seb's margin over second place went up from around a minute to nearly two.
The final day then was a mere formality and in the end he triumphed by over 2.5 minutes to get the year off to a perfect start and take the maximum ten points.
Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile had to settle for the runners-up spot - and the BP Ford
Abu Dhabi WRT man only inherited P2 on day 3, when Sordo was forced out.
The Finn was no match for the 'works' Citroens but he was still delighted with the result, his best at the Principality. Indeed he reckoned it felt almost
as good as win, as the Monte has never been especially kind to him before.