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Martin wins the Tour de Corse, Loeb takes title.


Ford number one driver, Markko Martin has won the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse today [Sunday], taking victory by over 2 minutes, while Sebastien Loeb finished second to seal the drivers' title on home ground.

Loeb's Citroen team-mate Carlos Sainz completed the podium, on a day when the French squad also clinched the manufacturer's crown for the second year running.

Loeb, who has won five rounds this season, retiring only once in 14 events [in Mexico], becomes the first Frenchman to win the drivers' title since Didier Auriol in 1994. The Frenchman was both ecstatic and relieved at the finish.

"Until the last two stages I was fine, I was concentrated and everything was going well. In the last stage, around five km from the end of stage, it became more and more difficult to stay concentrated," admitted Loeb.

"At this time, you begin to hear a lot of problems with the car, you begin to think what will happen after the race, if you will be Champion, so it was a lot more difficult to stay concentrated.

"I was driving very carefully. It is very nice for me and all the team to win the two titles here, in Corsica, in France. This was the nicest thing we could hope for this year."

At Ford meanwhile, Martin was delighted to secure his second win of the season, and his very first on asphalt. The Estonian, who initially lead Friday, before his team-mate, Francois Duval took over, regained the lead early Saturday and after that was never really troubled again, despite a fire scare at the end of the second leg.

"It's a great moment for me to win on asphalt for the first time," said Martin.

"Corsica is the classic asphalt event and the ultimate one to win. It has been a brilliant weekend and we've had a really impressive run. Today was enjoyable but Friday and Saturday were really hard work. It was satisfying to be able to enjoy today after having put in the hard effort for the previous two days."

Ford boss, Malcolm Wilson, was pleased with both of his drivers, although Duval was unfortunate to become the second works retirement today, when he stopped on SS9, with engine problems.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tour de Corse winners, Markko Martin and Michael Park [Ford]
Sebastien Loeb celebrates after winning the 2004 World Rally drivers` championship
Markko Martin / Michael Park - Ford Focus RS WRC04
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