Loeb Secures Seventh Straight Title With Victory On Home Soil

Sebastien Loeb claimed his seventh consecutive World Rally Championship title after taking the 60th victory of his career around his home region of Alsace in the Rallye de France.

Loeb dominated the rally in his Citroen C4, which finished with a stage around his home town of Haguenau. He finished with a 35.7s advantage over Citroen Total teammate Dani Sordo. Citroen Junior Sebastien Ogier was the only man who could still stop Loeb from winning the title prior to this weekend, but had to stop with broken suspension on Saturday while running in third.

Petter Solberg finished third in his privately-run C4, taking his sixth podium finish of the season. Jari-Matti Latvala finished fourth, having showed improved confidence on asphalt, taking several stage wins. His BP Ford teammate Mikko Hirvonen did not look so comfortable though, finishing a distant fifth. Ogier returned for leg three under superally, recovering to finish sixth overall.

Federico Villagra beat Matthew Wilson to seventh by just 11 seconds to be the best of the satellite Ford entries. Henning Solberg finished ninth in his Super 2000 Fiesta, ahead of SWRC class victor Patrick Sandell. The JWRC category was won by wildcard entry Jeremi Ancian, while Armindo Araujo took the PWRC honours.

Kimi Raikkonen had been running in seventh after day one, before two accidents forced him to retire from the event on Saturday. Ken Block finished down in 12th place after suffering from hydraulic problems in his Monster Ford. World Touring Car driver Yvan Muller suffered fuel-issue problems in his Solberg-run Citroen Xsara which forced him to retire on the first leg, but finished the rally in 43rd after rejoining under superally.

After the rally, Loeb said: “For sure it makes it really special – it’s incredible for me to win the seventh title here in Haguenau. I couldn’t expect so many people here. To win the title here is the best thing that could happen this year.”