Ninth straight win for Loeb, Rally France
Mon, 08 Oct 2012 2:40a.m.
Sebastien Loeb clinched his ninth consecutive world rally title on home soil after winning Rally France.
The French driver needed only to finish ahead of his Citroen teammate Mikko Hirvonen of Finland to guarantee another world crown.
Although Loeb drove cautiously over the day's six stages, he had already established a comfortable lead and Hirvonen hardly made up any ground, finishing third overall behind Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland.
Loeb was 54 seconds clear of Hirvonen overnight and appeared happy just to protect his advantage. Loeb had won four stages on Friday and Saturday, but failed to win any on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Loeb expects to race in no more than five rallies next season as he prepares to make the transition to a new career with Citroen in World Touring Cars.
Loeb's day got off to a slow start when he finished the first two stages down in seventh place, and the third in sixth.
Hirvonen cut the gap to 44 seconds but was unable to make up enough time on Loeb during the day.
Belgian driver Thierry Neuville won five of the day's six stages in his Citroen, with Estonia's Ott Tanak winning the other one for Ford.
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