25 October 2009
Loeb wins and secures 6th title
Rally of Great Britain - Day 3 report: Sebastien Loeb triumphs in Wales - and wins the drivers' championship yet again.
Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb took the victory on the Rally of Great Britain today - and in the process secured the WRC drivers' title for a record sixth time.
Loeb took the lead in the very first stage on Friday, winning four of the day's six stages to finish the opening leg 5.3 seconds up on his championship rival, BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen.
The Frenchman then came under pressure on Saturday morning, when Hirvonen was quickest in the opening test, Rhondda 1, the longest of the event, something that cut his cushion to just 2.9 seconds.
However, Loeb fought back in SS8 and SS9, setting the pace in both tests, and with Hirvonen struggling, conceding 10 seconds in each stage, the Citroen man returned to the mid-day halt in Cardiff 25 seconds ahead.
In the afternoon, Loeb continued to push taking two more stages wins in Crychan 2 and Halfway 2 to conclude the second leg just over half a minute ahead.
On the final day, Loeb could pace himself and while Hirvonen reduced the gap to 18.2 seconds after SS14, the Finn had dramas in the penultimate test, costing him more than a minute. Loeb subsequently took the win and the maximum 10 points with ease, beating his rival by 1 minute 6.1 seconds.
Seb, unsurprisingly, was delighted with the result, which maintains a run that has seen him win the WRC drivers' crown every year since 2004: “For sure it has been an incredible season,” Loeb said. “A very good start and then we lost everything in the middle of the year. I arrived here under big, big pressure but now I am really happy for this Championship.
“Mikko is really, really strong and I know that next year he will be even stronger. It is really an incredible feeling to win here.”
Hirvonen meanwhile did his best, but in the end it just wasn't enough and he was left to lament his pace - or rather lack of it - on Saturday morning, something that ultimately cost him any chance of victory.
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