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Loeb eases to stylish sixth straight Spanish success

Simply unbeatable yet again, Sébastien Loeb's sublime 2010 Rallye de España victory means the Citroën C4 WRC will retire come season's end with an impeccable 100 per cent record on asphalt
In his first event since being crowned World Rally Champion for an incredible seventh straight season, Sébastien Loeb demonstrated just why he has been so successful by notching up a sixth consecutive victory on Rallye de España this weekend – the Frenchman's 61st career WRC triumph.

Leading from start-to-finish, all pressure on Loeb was released when namesake and fellow Citroën star Sébastien Ogier made a mistake on Saturday morning that cost him 15 minutes, leaving the Alsacien with a handy margin over new second-place man Petter Solberg.

So comfortable was Loeb in his position, indeed, that he was able to back off and set 'only' the fifth-quickest stage time on SS15 and sixth-best on SS16 at the end of the rally, as he wound up 35.3 seconds clear of the last man to clinch the WRC crown before him – and in so doing, the 36-year-old ensure that the venerable C4 WRC, which is to be replaced by the new DS3 from 2011, will retire having never been beaten on asphalt in its four-year career.

“It was another very good result for us in Spain and I'm very happy,” the WRC 'record man' told the official website. “We had no pressure for the championship on this event, so we were just able to drive as we wanted. We pushed hard on the gravel on Friday, and from then it was a little bit easier to control the advantage.”

Indeed, Solberg was far more preoccupied with looking behind him from Saturday onwards rather than looking ahead, as home hero Dani Sordo in the second of the works Citroëns homed in on him, the Spaniard recovering from a poor opening day at the end of which he had languished a lowly sixth. The fastest time through the final stage of the rally helped to secure the position for the Norwegian.

“I went really sideways on the final stage – maybe too much,” confessed the PSWRT privateer. “I wasn't sure if I could do it. This means so much to me to beat the factory cars, because our car really isn't the same.”

“I think I was trying a bit too much,” mused Sordo, “but today has been a really nice day. I'm very grateful to all the spectators – I got a lot of support, so this third place is for everyone who came out to watch.”

Having occupied a podium spot in the early stages of Rallye de España, BP Ford Abu Dhabi ace and regular Crash.net columnist Jari-Matti Latvala ultimately slipped back to finish a distant fourth as he continues to acclimatise himself fully to asphalt, whilst team-mate and compatriot Mikko Hirvonen was left paying the price of a turbo pipe issue on the second full day that consigned him to no better than fifth, with the 2008 and 2009 world championship runner-up already looking ahead to a stronger showing on Rally Great Britain next month.

“I'm finally finding the relaxed feeling that I need on asphalt,” confirmed Latvala. “Since I drove at the Nürburgring 24 Hours earlier this year, I've felt a lot more confident on sealed surfaces.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dani Sordo (ESP) Diego Vallejo (ESP), Citroen C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Dani Sordo (ESP) Diego Vallejo (ESP), Citroen C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR), Citroen C4 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Petter Solberg (NOR), Citroen C4 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
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
Sebastien Ogier collects his WRC champion`s trophy at the FIA Prizegiving in Doha
Sebastien Ogier and VW celebrate at the FIA Prizegiving
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Henning Solberg, Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta WRC, #16)
Henning Solberg, Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta WRC, #16)
Mikko Hirvonen, Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC, #5 M-Sport World Rally Team)
Mikko Hirvonen, Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC, #5 M-Sport World Rally Team)
Mikko Hirvonen, Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC, #5 M-Sport World Rally Team)

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slightlysideways

October 26, 2010 1:32 PM

@ Chris: How can you say that Loeb was prepared to give Sordo the victory? Loeb had nothing to lose by going for it to ensure he had a clean sweep of wins for the C4 on tarmac. Granted Sordo did disappoint on the gravel test and doesn't deserve a full season next year, but perhaps a partial one on all tarmac rallies

slightly_sideways - Unregistered

October 25, 2010 2:54 PM

@whodunnit. I have a feeling it is going to be another boring year next year for all us wrc fans. Citroen will dominate both championships, here's why: even if the ford citroen and mini cars are identical, for argument's sake, citroen will still win as they have marginally better drivers who are seriously quick and will make very few errors. Citroen know how to make a car that's quick out of the box and reliable - the c4 wrc. YAAAAAAAAWWN.



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