His World Rally Championship rivals would no doubt agree, having watched the Citroen ace push his name into top spot on the timesheets at more than a handful of events this year, but five-time champion Sebastien Loeb insists that 'winning isn't easy'.

Addressing the star-studded audience at Friday night's FIA prize-giving gala in Monaco, the Frenchman thanked all those he considered important to his record-breaking season, before admitting that coming out on top wasn't quite as simple as his result may have suggested.

Loeb and Monegasque co-driver Daniel Elena appeared on stage to accept the honours for a fifth consecutive world title, a unique achievement in the history of rallying, having taken a record-breaking eleven event wins during the 15-round season. In a career spanning eleven years, the Frenchman has also shattered the record for WRC event victories - now standing at 47 - as well as racking up his fifth title.

"I am very pleased with this title as it means breaking another record, and I would like to thank Daniel first of all," the Frenchman noted, "He has partnered me for more than ten years and we share all our victories together. My thanks also go to everyone at the Citro?n team who have made all of this possible.

"Winning isn't easy, but it is even harder to maintain the same level. Our mechanics and engineers have supplied us with a competitive and reliable car every year, as well as the same motivation and dedication. I cannot compare the five WRC titles as they all have a special flavour, and for different reasons. At the start of this season, everyone thought it would be very easy for us, but we had to fight all the way and we have had great and exciting battles. The result is very satisfying, and I hope we can continue the same way next year!"

The WRC manufacturers' title was more closely fought between Citro?n and reigning champions Ford, before going the way of the French marque at the season finale in Wales.

"After the happy experience of seeing Seb and Daniel win the drivers' title in Japan, it was fantastic to share the same thrill on Rally GB, when Citro?n made sure of the manufacturers' crown," Citro?n Sport director Olivier Quesnel said, "Securing a second title in such difficult conditions was also very satisfying. The final event really summed up the season - it was fiercely fought and very close.

"Our crews have been both quick and reliable, and they made it possible to fly the brand's flag proudly. At the beginning of the year, our objective was the championship double - we have now succeeded and that is so satisfying. We have no intention of resting on our laurels though. The 2009 season is fast approaching and, after savouring these moments, everyone at Citro?n Sport will soon be back at work preparing the defence of these two titles."

The WRC Production Car title was also decided at the final round in Wales, having been contested over eight events, and Austria's Andreas Aigner, along with co-driver Klaus Wicha, were honoured in Monaco after taking the crown by just two points in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Loeb and Aigner were joined on stage by S?bastien Ogier, who made an impressive debut in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship by winning three of his nominated six events to take the title, alongside co-driver Julien Ingrassia, in a Citro?n C2.



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