Flawless Loeb seals victory in GreeceComment on this story
Sebastien Loeb produced a faultless display on the final day of the Acropolis Rally in Greece to win this rally for the third time after main rival Petter Solberg crashed out.
The French world champion began the day in his Citroen DS3 WRC with a 10.2 second advantage over Solberg but after his Norwegian rival crashed on the first of Sunday's five stages, Loeb finished 40 seconds ahead of team mate Mikko Hirvonen with an overall time of 4hours 42min03.3 over the four days.
The victory came despite a late scare, when Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena had to stop to change a puncture on stage 20.
It was Loeb's fourth victory in six rallies in this season's championship.
By claiming three bonus points for winning the event-closing Power Stage, he increased his lead over Finland's Hirvonen in the overall standings to 30 points.
“This rally was so long and difficult,” Loeb said after his 71st career rally triumph.
“We had some fortune in the morning, but in general we had to fight really hard. It was really good. I tried to always keep my rhythm and do what I felt.”
Solberg's misfortune - he tore a rear wheel off his car after hitting a tree - allowed Hirvonen to move into second spot with Jari-Matti Latvala securing the final podium place in third, the Finn marking his return from a broken collarbone in style by claiming 10 fastest stage times.
“I am happy with the result, after Friday I didn't have so much to do except just try not to make mistakes and bring the car back safely,” said Hirvonen.
“It's a very good result for the team, they have done a fantastic job with the car. I believe I can be faster than this.” - Reuters
1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen - 4hours 42min03.3
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen +40.0sec
3 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Ford +03min04.8
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford +6min16.4
5 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +7min46.5
6 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Citroen +9min41.4
7 Sebastien Ogier (France) Skoda +12min59.9
8 Yazeed Al Rajhi (Saudi Arabia) Ford +20min12.2
9 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +23min18.9
10 Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (Qatar) Mini +28min40.5
POINTS AFTER SIX ROUNDS - DRIVERS
1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen - 119
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen - 89
3 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford - 80
4 Petter Solberg (Norway) Ford - 73
5 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Ford - 45
6 Evgeny Novikov (Russia) Ford - 43
7 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford - 36
8 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Mini - 23
9 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Citroen - 22
10 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen - 22
1 Citroen World Rally Team - 194
2 Ford World Rally Team - 121
3 M-Sport Ford - 91
4 Citroen Junior Team - 42
5 Qatar World Rally Team - 37
6 Adapta World Rally Team - 27
7 Mini WRC Team - 26
8 Brazil World Rally Team - 10