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Loeb wins Rallye de France to clinch seventh title

He's done it again! Sébastien Loeb is the newly-crowned 2010 World Rally Champion - a seventh consecutive triumph - following his victory on this weekend's Rallye de France
As expected, the World Rally Championship's 'recordman' Sébastien Loeb cruised to an emotional victory on the final morning of this weekend's Rallye de France to clinch an incredible seventh straight drivers' crown – in the very same town as that in which he was born some 36 years ago.

Never headed throughout the event in his home region of Alsace, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena might not have triumphed on any of the three Sunday stages – with the unfortunately named 'Bitche Camp 2' being cancelled on safety grounds due to too many spectators – and indeed set an uncharacteristically lowly eighth-fastest time on the final 4km stage in the former's birthplace of Haguenau, but it mattered little.

The Frenchman's flawless 60th career success at the highest level came at the end of another untroubled day at the wheel of his Citroën World Rally Team C4 WRC, and after finishing some 35.7 seconds clear of team-mate Dani Sordo, the local hero admitted the weekend could scarcely have gone any better.

“This is fantastic,” he enthused, speaking to the official WRC website. “This has been a very impressive rally. It has been very difficult and I didn't expect so many people to be here. This is the best result for me, to win the championship here in France.”

Sordo's runner-up spot following a solid performance was enough to similarly put the manufacturers' laurels beyond reach with two events remaining on the 2010 calendar – whilst 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg ensured that it was a clean sweep of the podium for Citroën, even if the popular Norwegian was left ruing an overly-stiff set-up on his car on the opening day.

“I'm really happy for Sébastien,” affirmed Sordo, “and I'm really happy for Citroën. There have been so many people watching from the roadside – this is a good result for them.”

“It's a shame we lost that time in the mud – I hadn't done any testing in those conditions,” added Solberg, “but it's a great feeling, we're here with another podium and it's great for my championship chances to finish ahead of Jari-Matti [Latvala].”

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team-mates and countrymen Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen rounded out the top five, with the pair pacing the last stage and a satisfied Latvala professing himself encouraged by the four fastest stage times he set over the course of the weekend – if ultimately a shade disappointed to be narrowly pipped to the bottom step on the rostrum by Solberg at the end of a see-saw battle between the pair.

“The podium was close,” reflected the Crash.net columnist, “but when they cancelled the second run on the long stage today, Petter was too far away. I said before the start that I wanted to be fifth or better, so I have to be happy that I fulfilled my prediction, but without that mistake last night I could have been a lot closer. I have an appreciation of what Petter has done here – he has driven very well again.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Petter Solberg (NOR), Citroen C4 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR), Citroen C4 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Dani Sordo (ESP), Citroen C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Dani Sordo (ESP) Diego Vallejo (ESP), Citroen C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Podium Sebastian Loeb (F) Daniel Elena (MC) Citroen C4 WRC
Podium, Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
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]
Isolde Holderied [Pic credit: Toyota]
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Podium
Podium
Podium

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Chris - Unregistered

October 03, 2010 3:46 PM

Simply the best the sport has ever seen. Great effort and under pressure to wrap it up at home. As for our own comedy duo another truly dispicable performance. Save for the cancellation of Bitche 2 the Cumbrian irritation would have been 15mins down at the end!! At times Block was quicker. At times Muller(!) was quicker. At times S2000 drivers - Ostberg, Mikkelsen, Henning, Brynildsen, Ketomaa - were all quicker. At times Turan(!) who stuffed Wilson in a private 307 in Bulgria was quicker. At times Al Qassimi was quicker. Journeyman Villagra(!) was quicker. Matt doesn't deserve to be in the same country as Loeb let alone on the same stages. And after another pounding Malcolm doesn't deserve the Ford contract. Pathetic both.



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