Subaru team leader, Petter Solberg was amongst those to send their congratulations to Sebastien Loeb at the weekend, after the Frenchman clinched his third drivers' title in succession from the 'arm-chair'.

Loeb, who had to miss the Rally Australia and the event that preceded it in Turkey following a mountain bike accident that left him with a broken right arm, took the title on the strength of his results on the previous twelve events of the year. He was finally confirmed as the 2006 champion after his nearest rival, Marcus Gronholm failed to finish in the top three - as such, Seb can now not be caught.

"I want to say to Sebastien Loeb, congratulations to him. It is well-deserved," said Solberg. "He has done three impressive years and been fastest of all. He is the real winner - very good."

BP Ford team director, Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was also impressed and the M-Sport boss said he is now one of his personal all-time greats: "He is the most successful driver of all time in the world championship - and probably in the shortest space of time. He is now up there ranking amongst my all time favourites," Wilson Sr told ITV Sport. "He has obviously got many years ahead of him and I wish him well. I congratulate him on getting his third championship. The championship really needs him back as soon as possible."

BF Goodrich rally manager Aime Chatard also saluted the Frenchman, who prior to his accident had dominated the season, taking eight wins in total from a possible twelve and finishing second on the other four.

"It's a genuine exploit [for Loeb to take his third drivers' title in a row]. As a tyre manufacturer, we are particularly proud to have contributed to his success. The World Rally Championship tests competitors over a wide variety of terrains, conditions and types of weather and the tyres must be able to adapt to all these different parameters. S?bastien, Daniel [Elena - his co-driver], their engineers [at Kronos Citroen] and the BFGoodrich technician who works with Kronos made some excellent tyre choices in the course of the season. I'm thinking especially of the Monte Carlo Rally, Argentina, Germany and Cyprus. Bravo and a big thank you to Seb, Daniel and Kronos."

When Loeb will be back in action has yet to be confirmed and although he is hoping to get back behind the wheel in New Zealand in three weeks time it may only be for the recce.