Sébastien Loeb - the world’s most successful rally driver

Sébastien Loeb - the world’s most successful rally driver  
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on 09/05/2006

Sébastien Loeb has just become the world’s most successful rally driver. A historic 27th career victory in the Rally of Japan edged the double World Rally Champion past former Citroën driver Carlos Sainz and into the record books once again. Unbelievably Loeb only made his WRC debut in 2004 and has taken just four seasons to overtake the success of rally legend Sainz. Victory in Japan was the seventh this year for the Frenchman from only eleven starts. He now leads the driver’s standings by an incredible 33 points with five rallies to go.

Steering clear of trouble on the narrow Japanese roads, Loeb secured his first victory in the land of the rising sun, by the slimmest of margins on the final day, a mere 5.6 seconds from his closest rival, Marcus Grönholm. Success provided a further 10 manufacturers points for Kronos Total Citroën WRT reinforcing their position as the leaders of the championship.

Sébastien Loeb commented: “How was that for close? At the start of the final leg, I thought that the eight points for the championship would have been a good result for the championship. Then we took the decision just to go for it. On the last stage, we took a few risks. The smell of victory, and the potential joy of a team that once again performed faultlessly, made it all worth it.”

Rally of Japan – Final Leaderboard

1 S.Loeb/D.Elena (Citroën Xsara)
3h 22 min 20.4 secs

2 M.Grönholm/T.Rautianen (Ford Focus)
+ 5.6 secs

3 M.Hirvonen/J.Lehitinen (Ford Focus)
+ 2 min 46.5 secs

4 Ch.Atkinson/G.Macneall (Subaru Impreza)
+ 6 min 07.8 secs

5 M.Stohl/I.Minor (Peugeot 307)
+ 7 min 10.7 secs

FIA World Rally Championship after round 11 – Drivers

1. S.Loeb (FRA), 102 pts – 2. M.Grönholm (FIN), 69 pts – 3. D.Sordo (E), 43 pts – 4. M.Hirvonen (FIN), 33 pts – 5. M.Stohl (A), 28 pts – 6. P.Solberg (N), 21 pts – 7. T.Gardemeister (FIN), 16 pts – 8. H.Solberg (N), 16 pts – 9. G.Galli (I), 15 pts – 10. X.Pons (E), 11 pts

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