News24

Loeb wins Rally of Argentina

2012-04-29 23:39

Cordoba - Defending world champion Sebastien Loeb won his seventh successive Rally of Argentina on Sunday to extend his lead in his hunt for a ninth drivers' title.

The French driver led home a Citroen 1-2 with team-mate Mikko Hirvonen taking the runner-up spot, 15 seconds behind. Ford's Mads Ostberg took third.

"Another victory here in Argentina it's incredible for me and especially after Portugal it was important for the team to react like this," said Loeb.

The rally lost much of its competitive edge after Saturday's second day when Hirvonen was instructed by his team not to jeopardise their chances of a podium shut out by challenging Loeb for victory.

All of Sunday's six stages were claimed by former champion Petter Solberg but the Ford Focus driver only came in sixth after losing valuable time when his car left the road on Friday.

His Spanish team-mate, Dani Sordo, was on target to finish third before having to retire with a mechanical problem.

This was Loeb's 70th career win and the third out of five legs of the 2012 world rally championship after Monte Carlo and Mexico.

The eight-time champion extended his lead in the drivers' standings to 91 points, with Solberg on 73 and Hirvonen on 70.

Collated results from the Rally of Argentina, the fifth leg of the world rally championship, after the closing six stages on Sunday:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 5hr 34min 38.8sec, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroen DS3) at 15.2s, 3. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta) 3:10.4, 4. Martin Prokop (CZE/Ford Fiesta) 9:45.3, 5. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Citroen DS3) 11:17.6, 6. Petter Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta) 12:02.2, 7. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/Skoda Fabia S2000) 12:25.3

Stage winners

Solberg 11 (SS1, SS3, SS10, SS11, SS12, SS14, SS15, SS16, SS17, SS18, SS19), Loeb 4 (SS2, SS4, SS5, SS7), Hirvonen 3 (SS6, SS8, SS9), Neuville 1 (SS13)

Overall standings

Drivers


1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) 91 pts, 2. Petter Solberg (NOR) 73, 3. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) 70, 4. Mads Ostberg (NOR) 68, 5. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) 43, 6. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) 28, 7. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 23, 8. Martin Prokop (CZE) 22, 9. Dani Sordo (ESP) 21, 10. Ott Tanak (EST) 16, 11. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) 16, 12. Thierry Neuville (BEL) 14

Constructors/Teams

1. Citroen Racing 151 pts, 2. Ford 106, 3. M-Sport (Ford) 81, 4. Qatar WRT (Citroen) 37, 5. Citroen Junior Team 30, 6. Adapta WRT (Ford) 27, 7. Prodrive WRC (Mini) 26, 8. Brazil WRT (Mini) 10

AFP