Loeb wins Rally of Catalunya

2011-10-23 15:20

Salou - Sebastien Loeb moved closer to an eighth consecutive drivers' title with a win in the the Rally of Catalunya, the penultimate leg of the season, here on Sunday.

Loeb's 67th career win and the fifth this year assured his team Citroen of the manufacturers' title ahead of the closing rally in Wales to come.

He added this to his wins in 2011 in Mexico, Sardinia, Argentina and Finland.

The French ace beat his title challenger, Mikko Hirvonen, by over two minutes with the Finn's compatriot and Ford Fiesta team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in third, 2:32.sec adrift.

Loeb goes into next month's final rally with an eight point advantage over Hirvonen in the overall drivers' standings.

For Citroen this was the French competitor's seventh world title and their fourth consecutive title since 2008.

Loeb had led in Catalunya from the opening day on Friday. He posted the quickest time in Sunday's third stage, with the rally's closing stage captured by British driver Kris Meeke in the Mini John Cooper.

Loeb left Catalunya having made history after overtaking legendary Finn Markku Alen's record of 801 special stage wins.

A minute's silence was held before he received his trophy as a mark of respect for Marco Simoncelli, the Italian Honda MotoGP rider who died from injuries sustained in a horrific crash in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

Simoncelli was a passionate rally supporter and last month had tested a Ford Fiesta at Kirkbride airport in the north west of England. There was a possibility that he might compete at next year's rally in Monza.

Final standings on Sunday after the third day of the Rally of Catalunya, the 12th and penultimate event in the world rally championship:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3 4hr 05min 39.3sec, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS at 2:06.9, 3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS 2:32.4, 4. Dani Sordo (ESP) Mini John Cooper Works 3:24.1, 5. Kris Meeke (GBR) Mini John Cooper Works 5:15.0, 6. Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS 5:54.2, 7. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Citroen DS3 9:31.8, 8. Henning Solberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS 9:40.1

Retired: Petter Solberg (NOR) Citroen DS3 (SS1), Kimi Rikkonen (FIN) Citroen DS3 (SS3), Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Citroen DS3 (SS17)

Special stage winners: Latvala 6 (SS4, SS5, SS9, SS10, SS12, SS17), Loeb 5 (SS1, SS6, SS7, SS8, SS15), Ogier 4 (SS2, SS3, SS13, SS16), Sordo 1 (SS11), Hirvonen 1 (SS14), Meeke 1 (SS18)

Overall drivers standings:

1. S. Loeb (FRA) 222 pts, 2. M. Hirvonen (FIN) 214, 3. S. Ogier (FRA) 193, 4. J-M. Latvala (FIN) 146, 5. P. Solberg (NOR) 110, 6. M. Ostberg (NOR) 70, 7. D. Sordo (ESP) 57, 8. M. Wilson (GBR) 53, 9. H. Solberg (NOR) 44, 10. K. Raikkonen (FIN) 34


1. Citroen Racing 397 pts (champion), 2. Ford 351, 3. Stobart-Ford 145, 4. Petter Solberg WRT 98, 5. Ice1Racing 48, 6. FERM-Ford 44, 7. Abu Dhabi-Ford 42, 8. Munchi's-Ford 38, 9. Monster-Ford 19, 10. Van Merksteijn Motorsport 16, 11. Brazil WRT 3