Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Loeb eyes WRC crown

AJACCIO, France: French Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb closed in on a fifth consecutive WRC world crown here after winning the Rally of Corsica on Sunday.

Finland's Mikko Hirvonen and Belgium's Francois Duval, both driving a Ford Focus, finished second and third respectively in the 13th race of the calendar.

The win means Loeb now takes a commanding lead at the top of the drivers' championship with 106 points to Hirvonen's 92, with just two rallies remaining.

"It's getting better and better. To win here in Corsica is a great moment," said the Frenchman, who won the first 11 specials to take a big lead going into the last day.

The drivers' championship may be almost sown up but, after a strong podium showing for Ford, the team crown is still to play for - and Loeb will do all he can to bring Citroen victory.

"We were much faster all rally and that's great for me and the team," he said. "We'll add another two more points to our championship lead. So okay, we'll see how we get on in Japan."

Loeb's record-setting 46th career win was also his fourth consecutive victory in the Rally of Corsica, nicknamed the "rally of 10,000 corners" for its testing course, peppered with tight hairpin bends.

It was also the Frenchman's fifth WRC victory in a row having already triumphed in the rallies of Finland, Germany and New Zealand in August, and the Rally of Catalonia in October.

Despite a difficult drive on the tricky, mountainous circuit, Ford's Duval was delighted with his performance, which included a 12th-stage win to break Loeb's dominant specials' streak.

The next rally will take place in Japan from Oct 31-Nov 2 with the season ender coming at the start of December at the Wales Rally GB.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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