2012 Finnish rally falls to Loeb
'WELL DONE, DAD!' Citroen crew Sebastien Loeb (right) and Daniel Elena celebrate on the podium (with Loeb's daughter Valentine) after the 2012 Rally of Finland. Driver Loeb won ahead of Finnish team mate Mikko Hirvonen. Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
JYVASKYLA, Finland - Citroen's World champion Sebastien Loeb has won the Rally of Finland for the third time in his record-breaking career to stretch his overall lead in the standings to 43 points.
The Frenchman, chasing his ninth consecutive championship, finished ahead of local favourite and team mate Mikko Hirvonen with another Finn, Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, third.
SIX OF EIGHT
Loeb finished the final Ouninpohja 2 stage 6.1sec ahead of Hirvonen, who lost precious time in the morning after he hit a tree. Latvala was 28.9 further back.
Norway's Petter Solberg was fourth for Ford.
The victory was Loeb's sixth in eight races so far in 2012 and 73rd of his career. He led from start to finish and now has 171 points to Hirvonen's 128 with five rounds left.
"It's very satisfying to win in Finland," the Frenchman said. "I didn't come here especially to win, I came for points because it's very difficult to beat the Finnish drivers.
"It was a great fight with Mikko, a 1-2 two for Citroen and great for the championship."
Result from the Rally of Finland after Saturday's six special stages
1 Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3 2hr28min11.4
2 Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Citroen DS3 +6.1
3 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS +35.0
4 Petter Solberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS +56.1
5 Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS +2min32.1
6 Ott Tanak (EST) Ford Fiesta RS +2min47.6
7 Matti Rantanen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS +4min51.7
8 Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS +6min01.9
9. Martin Prokop (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS +6min04.3
10 Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Skoda Fabia S2000 +8min46.0
Special stage wins
Loeb 9 (1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16)
Solberg 2 (2, 11)
Hirvonen 7 (5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 17, 18)
Latvala 1 (16)
Drivers' and Constructors' standings after the 2012 Rally of Finland
1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen - 171
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen - 128
3 Petter Solberg (Norway) Ford - 104
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Mads Ostberg - 90
5 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) - 69
6 Evgeny Novikov (Russia) Ford - 55
7 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford - 38
8 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Citroen - 32
9 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Mini - 29
10 Ott Taenak (Estonia) M-Sport Ford - 26
11 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Qatar - 23
12 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen - 23
13 Armindo Araujo (Portugal) Armindo Araujo - 11
14 Francois Delecour (France) Ford - 8
15 Dennis Kuipers (Netherlands) Ford - 8
1 Citroen - 280
2 Ford - 171
3 M-Sport Ford - 115
4 Qatar World Rally Team - 49
5 Citroen Junior World Rally Team - 48
6 Adapta World Rally Team - 37
7 Mini - 26
8 Brazil World Rally Team - 16