Record 9th title for Loeb

2012-10-07 15:54
Sebastien Loeb (AFP)

Strasbourg - Sebastien Loeb was crowned world rally champion for a record ninth successive time with two legs of the season still to come here on Sunday.

The French rally great clinched the title with victory in the Rally of France, leaving him with an unassailable lead in the overall standings.

There was double joy for his team Citroen who claimed the constructors title for the eighth time.

Loeb's win in his hometown of Haguenau in Alsace pushed him up to 244 points in the drivers' title race with his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen who finished third, on 173 points and out of contention for the title with rallies in Italy and Spain remaining.

"I am the nonuple champion... nonuple, I don't even know this word, I'll have to learn it now!" said Loeb who is planning to compete in only four or five rallies next season as he shifts his focus to the Touring Car Championship.

He added: "The last day was very complicated. In the morning there was a lot of aqua-planing. I really scared myself during the first special stage when I came out of a bend too wide.

"But it was ok in the end. Then this afternoon I just looked after myself."

Loeb had a 15.5second cushion over second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala in a Ford Focus with Hirvonen 44sec back in third.

Rally of France standings after Sunday's third and final day at the 11th round of the world rally championship:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3 3hr 32min 53.0sec, 2. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS at 15.5sec, 3. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Citroen DS3 44.1, 4. Thierry Neuville (BEL) Citroen DS3 1:07.3, 5. Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS 1:16.4, 6. Ott Tanak (EST) Ford Fiesta RS 2:27.9, 7. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ford Fiesta RS 5:51.6, 8. Chris Atkinson (AUS) Mini Cooper 6:42.4, 9. Martin Prokop (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS 8:46.8, 10. Sebastien Chardonner (FRA) Citroen DS3 9:00.7

Stage winners: Neuville (SS1, SS17, SS18, SS19, SS21, SS22), Loeb (SS2, SS3, SS5, SS7, SS9, SS10, SS14, SS15), Latvala (SS4, SS6, SS8, SS11, SS13, SS16), Hirvonen (SS13), Tanak (SS20)

Note: SS12 cancelled because of security concerns for spectators

World championship standings


1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) 244 pts, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) 173, 3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) 131, 4. Mads Ostberg (NOR) 125, 5. Petter Solberg (NOR) 119, 6. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) 69, 7. Thierry Neuville (BEL) 52, 8. Martin Prokop (CZE) 42, 9. Ott Tanak (EST) 37, 10. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) 31, 11. Dani Sordo (ESP) 31, 12. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 28, 13. Christopher Atkinson (GBR) 14, 14. Armindo Araujo (POR) 11, 15. Francois Delecour (FRA) 8


1. Citroen Racing 388 pts, 2. Ford Motorsport 259, 3. M-Sport (Ford) 137, 4. Citroen Junior Team 72, 5. Adapta WRT 71



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