Loeb Wins Rally GB, Secures 6th Consecutive World Title

Sebastien Loeb has clinched his 6th overall crown in the World Rally Championship, after winning Rally Great Britain ahead of his title rival Mikko Hirvonen. Coming into Day 3 of the event with more than 30 seconds of advantage over his Ford counter-candidate for the championship, Loeb drove a safe rally on Sunday to end the weekend more than one minute ahead of Hirvonen.

The Ford driver looked like he was going to put up a great fight for the championship with 2 stages to go, following some incredible stage times in SS13 and SS14. Heading to the penultimate special stage of the day with only 18 seconds to make up for, Hirvonen lost his car’s bonnet through Port Talbot and consequently more than a minute to the Frenchman.

That left Loeb all alone on top of the classification, while Hirvonen went on to fight for the runner-up spot against Citroen’s second driver Dani Sordo. The 6-time world champion didn’t take any unnecessary risks during the last outing of the day and sealed the win, while the Finn eventually crossed the finish line in 2nd place.

"It has been an incredible season - a very good start then we lost everything in the middle of the season. It was big, big pressure and I'm really happy about this one because Mikko was really, really strong. It was an incredible battle all season," said Loeb after the rally, according to Autosport.

"I need to get back to work and find more speed for next year. We are now really close to Sebastien and that feels good, but it's still a big disappointment in the end," added Hirvonen.

Loeb therefore clinched his 6th consecutive WRC title of career only one point ahead of Hirvonen, the closest point margin he ever won the championship with.

Despite Petter Solberg’s high expectations for the 2009 Rally GB, the Norwegian had to settle for 4th place in the end, with a huge 5-minute margin ahead of brother and Stobart M-Sport driver Henning Solberg. The latter was followed at the finish line by teammate Matthew Wilson, who took advantage of a completely failed outing from Citroen Junior's Sebastien Ogier during SS15.

The Frenchman lost control of his car and severely crashed his C4 WRC, but eventually made it to the finish line with an 11-minute loss. He practically threw himself out of the point-scoring positions, therefore giving Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala an unexpected 7th place overall (he has driven a damaged car all weekend)

Citroen Junior did manage, however, to have one driver into a point-scoring position, with Conrad Rautenbach completing the Top 8.
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