Loeb Reigns in Spain - Again!

By clinching one bonus point for clocking third fastest time on the event-closing Power Stage, Sebastien Loeb will head to Great Britain for the final round of the World Rally Championship next month with a lead of 8 points over Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen and, with a potential 28 points on offer and the Finn's current driving performance mediocre at best, the odds look stacked in Loeb's favour as he bids for an unprecedented eighth WRC driver's crown.
Loeb's success in Spain, alongside co-driver Daniel Elena, earned sufficient points for Citroen to clinch the FIA manufacturers' title for a seventh time, despite his team-mate Sebastien Ogier retiring from fifth on the penultimate stage with an engine fault.
"It was a really good rally for us coming from three bad rallies," said Loeb, whose tally of five stage wins during the event means he has broken Markku Alen's record of 801 fastest stage times. "We did the perfect race I would say with no mistakes. Mikko has taken a lot of points so we stay very close in the championship but the point for the Power Stage could be very important."
Jari-Matti Latvala began the final day in a strong second place following an inspired performance behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC, which he described as his best performance on asphalt. However, with team-mate Hirvonen needing as many points as possible for his championship aspirations, Latvala conveniently incurred a two-minute time penalty to drop behind Hirvonen to third overall.
Dani Sordo gave the thousands of Spanish fans lining the route reason for cheer when he finished fourth in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Delays caused by a rear-left puncture on stage 14 and a steering problem on the next test had dropped Sordo into Ogier's clutches. But when Ogier hit trouble on the penultimate run, Sordo was clear in fourth with team-mate Kris Meeke claiming his first finish of 2011 in fifth.
Briton Meeke drove without error and rounded out a strong showing by going fastest on the event-closing Power Stage, his first overall stage win in the WRC.

23rd October, 2011