Loeb ends 2010 on high with Rally GB victory

Sebastien Loeb came through to take his eighth victory of the year today on the Rally GB, the final round in the 2010 WRC and the last ever event for the current spec World Rally Cars.
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has won Wales Rally GB today - and perhaps fittingly the seven-time world champion, who has dominated so much of the WRC car era, took victory on what was the swansong for the current generation of cars.

The much anticipated final day battle failed to really materialise with Loeb beating Petter Solberg on all four of the day's stages. But at the end of the final stage, Margam Park 2, the Frenchman was quick to pay tribute to his rival: “Petter was going very fast with nearly no mistakes. That old guy is still really fast,” Loeb said. “I enjoyed this rally a lot and had a lot of pleasure on the stages.”

Solberg meanwhile, conceded he had other priorities apart from winning the event: “For us it was more important to claim third in the WRC standings than an overall victory. I must give a special thank you to my family for putting up with me for past two years,” said the privateer. “It's been great. I don't know where I will be next year but I wherever I am I want to take the fight to Loeb.”

That third place in the championship could have been second if BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala had not got ahead of his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen on the penultimate stage of the event: “I am so, so pleased with second in the championship. It's like a dream to finish here as runner-up in the WRC,” said the Crash.net columnist. “The victories this year have been a bonus. Mikko was pushing hard this morning so I had to take some risks to beat him today.”

Fourth placed Hirvonen was in reflective mood at the end of the event: “For sure it has been a hard year,” he conceded. “It will be sad to say goodbye to the current generation of cars. We have had a lot of good results. But I am looking forward to the future now and all will be new next year. I am looking forward to a better season.”

After setting fastest time on the final stage of the event, fifth placed Dani Sordo was also more interested in looking at what, for him, is an uncertain future: “Next year I don't know,” he replied when asked about his plans for 2011. “Why not the Mini? It won't be competitive at the start but with BMW behind it, it will improve.”

Henning Solberg took his Stobart Ford Focus to sixth place while seventh placed Matthew Wilson felt it hadn't been his finest event: “It has not been the best of weekends after the mistakes I made on Friday,” said the Englishman. “Since then I've kind of been in no-man's land. It's been so hard to push.”

F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was pleased to bring his Citroen Junior Team-run C4 WRC home in one piece but confirmed that nothing has yet been decided for next year: “I would tell you if I knew, but I don't know myself,” said the Finn. “There are a few options and hopefully they will come up with something. I would like to stay on.”

After problems yesterday in his Impreza WRC, Mads Ostberg was a somewhat demoralised ninth: “I can't wait to try a full season next year. My lips are sealed,” he said cryptically post-SS20.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Podium, 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 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, Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Podium, Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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November 14, 2010 10:30 PM

Well done Loeb that was a serious piece of driving... sorry not to see Petter on the top step after all his commitment to the sport. Disappointing run from Dani and Mikko. If only Latvala didn't burst that tyre it would have been a great spectacle to the end. Malcolm has some serious thinking to do. Matt must be shown the door perhaps he could make the tea for the team. Mikko should be given his seat, Petter should be taken on (it's been 10 years, get over it Malcolm) to the A team with Latvala. That would be a very strong line up well capable of toppling Citroen next year. Oops I forgot money comes before talent..........

Chris - Unregistered

November 14, 2010 5:28 PM

I hope that brings to a close the WRC career of one Matt 'hapless' Wilson. A 5 year plan that delivered nothing, no wins, 0 podiums. In keeping with his previous 64 rallies our comedy Cumbrian's 7th Rally GB was so underwhelming. Unlikely I know, but I hope Malcolm, Ford, Stobbart, Monster wake up and realise what the rest of us already know that Hapless is as useful as @rse gravy. Utter disgrace.

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