Loeb had a pretty poor event by his standards, picking up a 10 second penalty early on Friday when he left service late and then getting stuck in a snow bank in SS7, which cost the Frenchman almost 2 minutes. After that it was always going to be about damage limitation and despite a spin on Saturday morning and a puncture in the afternoon, he fought his way back up to P6.
He also took the Power Stage win too, which was some consolation, as he takes the maximum three bonus points: “I tried to push in the final stage. It was not much worse than the first pass. I had to try. It [my run through the Power Stage] was better than the rest of the weekend,” Loeb commented.
Henning Solberg trailed the Frenchman home in seventh in his Go Fast Energy WRT Fiesta. He slipped behind Loeb on Saturday's repeat loop and after that was powerless to stay with him, the gap growing to almost a minute by the end of SS24.
Patrik Sandell took eighth and was the lead MINI John Cooper Works WRC car at the finish. Sandell put in a fine performance throughout the three-days, setting 18 top-ten times in total.
“It is great to finish the rally. I tried to go as fast as I could. Overall it has been a perfect weekend for me - absolutely fantastic. I really like the car and I am really happy,” said the 2006 JWRC champion.
Martin Prokop and Eyvind Brynildsen rounded out the top ten, both in Fiesta RS WRC cars and leaving Ford with an impressive 1-3-4-5-7-9-10 sweep.
Of the rest, Volkswagen Motorsport's Sebastien Ogier
was the top S2000 car in eleventh, although as he is not registered for the SWRC, P-G Andersson took the class victory there and was 14th overall behind Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen.
In terms of retirements, Sweden took four notable scalps - namely MINI's Dani Sordo and Jari Ketomaa, who both went out on day one, while today Ott Tanak and Rally 2 runner Paulo Nobre were sidelined with just two stages to go. Tanak had engine problems, while Nobre went off the road again.
The 2012 World Rally Championship now goes to Mexico next, with that event running from March 8-11.
To view the result for the 2012 Rally Sweden - CLICK HERE