Loeb seals Argentina triumph

2013-05-04 19:16
Sebastien Loeb (File)

Cordoba - Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb won the Rally of Argentina for the eighth time on Saturday, cruising to victory in his Citroen.

Fellow French driver Sebastian Ogier, whose challenge fizzled out on Friday, was second in a Volkswagen.

Ogier's VW teammate Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland was third after capturing the 14th and final stage.

"There is a lot of emotion because it was such a difficult race," said Loeb who has won every edition of this event since 2005 and enjoyed a 50-second margin of victory on Saturday.

It was his 78th career win and second this season after the championship-opener in Monte Carlo.

The 39-year-old Loeb is tackling a limited programme of four rallies this season before quitting on home ground in France in October.

"It was a tough rally with complicated stages, but there was a great atmosphere and it was great to feel that all weekend," said Loeb, who ended Ogier's run of three successive wins.

"After so many months since my last gravel rally it was difficult to find the feeling in the first stage and to get the car working for me, but it was the perfect drive."

According to the website, around 80,000 spectators lined the final stage on Saturday to witness the Frenchman's last appearance in the country.

Ogier had dominated the early part of the race, winning five of the first six stages, but his bid unravelled on Friday with a puncture as well as losing time by going off road.

"It's a good result for us," said Ogier who has a 54-point lead at the top of the championship.

"We had a lot of problems this weekend but we're happy to be at the end. We're still in a learning year and at the moment, after five events, it's going well."

Results from the final day of the Rally of Argentina, the fifth leg of the 13 race series, on Saturday:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 4hr 35min 56.7sec
2. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/VW Polo-R) at 55sec
3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/VW Polo-R) 2:00.8
4. Evgeny Novikov (RUS/Ford Fiesta RS) 2:36.7
5. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Ford Fiesta RS) 4:40.5
6. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroën DS3) 6:23.9
7. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 11:02.2
8. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR/VW Polo-R) 13:22.1
9. Dani Sordo (ESP/Citroën DS3) 13:22.3
10. Martin Prokop (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS) 14.07.6

Read more on:    sebastien loeb  |  rallying

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