Loeb secures title on home soil

Sebastien Loeb has claimed his ninth World Rally title

Sebastien Loeb has claimed his ninth World Rally title

First published in National Sport News © by

Sebastien Loeb wrapped up his ninth consecutive World Rally Championship title in style with victory on home soil in France on Sunday.

Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena once again underlined their dominance of the sport as they finished 15.5 seconds ahead of Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala in the overall standings after the 22nd and final stage of the Rallye de France.

Loeb's 75th WRC win is his eighth in 11 races so far this season, and sees him wrap up yet another title with two rounds to spare.

"It has been a great moment. We had been dreaming of it since the weekend began, it is pure happiness," Loeb told reporters.

Loeb's win also secured Citroen their eighth manufacturers' crown, but also heralded the end of an era with the Frenchman previously announcing he would not defend his title in 2013, electing instead for a part-time WRC programme.

"The season has been perfect but I want to enjoy this rather than think about this title being our last together," he added, referring to long-time co-driver Elena.

With 244 points, Loeb is 71 ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen with two races to go.

Latvala's strong run to second place - the Finn following up his win in Britain last time out - denied Citroen the further satisfaction of a one-two finish, with Hirvonen coming home in third place, 44 seconds adrift of his team-mate.

Citroen Junior's Thierry Neuville was on superb form on Sunday, winning five of the final day's six stages as he claimed a career-best fourth place overall, ahead of Mads Ostberg.

Ott Tanak took sixth, while the top 10 was rounded out by Evgeny Novikov, Chris Atkinson, Martin Prokop and Sebastien Chardonnet.

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