Loeb's 2012 Rally of Spain Win

Have we now witnessed the end of an epoch as the most successful rally driver of all time, Sebastien Loeb, ended his final year of full-time World Rally Championship competition by winning his 76th world championship rally, his eighth successive Rally of Spain triumph?

Friday morning's downpours on the gravel stages did not initially suit Loeb, but he made steady progress up the order even before the asphalt stages started on Saturday and by the rally's halfway point, Loeb's Citroen was leading by 20s!

Volkswagen's newly signed 2013 team-leader Jari-Matti Latvala underlined his asphalt speed and consistency with second place and Loeb's somewhat overshadowed Citroen team mate, Mikko Hirvonen, third position.

Latvala's second place and power stage win saw the Finn snatch third place in the 2012 championship away from Mads Ostberg - a major blow for the Norwegian as he chases a works Citroen seat for 2013.

Petter Solberg, Dani Sordo, Chris Atkinson, Thierry Neuville and Evgeny Novikov were among a host of drivers who crashed on day one, rejoining under Rally 2, with Sordo the star as he took a sequence of stage wins once an engine problem was rectified. Atkinson was highest up the final leader board, salvaging seventh in Motorsport Italia's farewell as the factory Mini entrant. Sordo's Prodrive Mini team-mate Jarkko Nikara emerged with a surprise fifth place in his biggest WRC chance yet.

Craig Breen followed up last year's WRC Academy win by clinching the 2012 Super 2000 title with sixth overall, beating rival PG Andersson's Proton, this result a poignant end to the season in which Breen's original co-driver Gareth Roberts tragically lost his life.

Loeb now starts the second phase of his motorsport career in the World Touring Car Championship and who'd bet against the popular Frenchman stamping his authority on this series too? The IRDC applauds Sebastien Loeb for being such a great competitor and ambassador on the world rallying scene for 10 successful years and extends its best wishes for his continued success.

Rally of Spain - Top Ten Finishers

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 4h14m29.1s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 7.0s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1m46.8s
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 1m56.4s
5. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive Mini + 16m07.9s
6. Craig Breen Kel-Tech Ford + 18m10.4s
7. Chris Atkinson Italia Mini + 19m14.7s
8. PG Andersson Proton + 20m16.1s
9. Dani Sordo Prodrive Mini + 25m40.6s
10. Evgeny Novikov Autotek Ford + 25m46.6s

12th November, 2012