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Spain - leg 3: Spanish hat-trick for Loeb.

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb took his third win in succession on the Rally Catalunya Costa Daurada on Sunday.

Loeb began the event, the twelfth round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, with the second best time in SS1, before taking the lead in SS2, when he was 2.3 seconds up on his team-mate, Daniel Sordo and 7 seconds up Marcus Gronholm, his chief championship rival.

Although he was briefly overhauled by Sordo in the middle loop, the Frenchman re-asserted himself in the rain-affected final test on day 1 and ended the opening leg with an 11.3 second cushion.

Seb then maintained his advantage on day two and while he only won two of the day's eight stages the gap to Sordo - and Gronholm in third - remained pretty constant and he could then just pace himself through Sunday's final four tests.

In the end the Citroen man took the win, his sixth of the season, by 13.8 seconds.

The result moves him closer to Gronholm at the top of the drivers' championship standings – the deficit going down from 10 points to 6 with just four rounds left on the schedule.

Dani meanwhile put in what was easily one of his best performances of the season in the #2 Citroen C4 WRC and he did more than enough to secure the runners-up spot and assist Seb in his battle for the drivers' crown.

The fact he managed to lead a WRC event for the very first time was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the three-days for the local star, who also won four stages outright as well.

Gronholm for his part never recovered after struggling in the mixed conditions on day 1 and finishing the first leg 50.6 seconds off Loeb.

Although he kept the pressure on the two Citroens on the second and third legs, winning four of the eight stages on Saturday and three of the four on Sunday, he was unable to make much of an impression. Consequently he had to settle for the final place on the rostrum, something that gives Loeb the momentum heading to the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse next weekend.

Mikko Hirvonen took a solid if unspectacular fourth place in the other BP Ford Focus RS WRC. Mikko tried to push on Saturday to close up on his team-mate and the Citroens, but in the end slipped further back and finally finished nearly 1.5 minutes off Seb and 46 seconds off Gronholm.

Next up was Francois Duval on just his second outing with the OMV Kronos Citroen squad.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Argentina, May 3-6 2007.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Catalunya Costa Daurada, Spain. 5-7th Oct 2007.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Catalunya Costa Daurada, Spain. 5-7th Oct 2007.
Isolde Holderied. Toyota GT86 CS-R3. Rallye Deutschland safety/zero car [Pic credit: Toyota]
Isolde Holderied. Toyota GT86 CS-R3. Rallye Deutschland safety/zero car [Pic credit: Toyota]
StephaneLefebvre (FRA) Thomas Dubois (FRA), Citroen DS3 R3, WRC3 winners
StephaneLefebvre (FRA) Thomas Dubois (FRA), Citroen DS3 R3, WRC3 winners
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorian Pulpea (ROM), Citroen Ds3 R3
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)

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