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2011-10-23 18:24

LOEB DOES IT AGAIN! French driver Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena blast their Citroen through a stage of the 2011 Rally Catalunya on their way to winning the event. Image: AFP

SALOU, Spain - Sebastien Loeb moved closer to an eighth consecutive Drivers' title by winning the weekend's Rally of Catalunya, the penultimate leg of the season, here on Sunday.

Loeb's 67th career win and the fifth this year assured his team, Citroen, of the Manufacturers' title despite the closing rally still to come in Wales. it added to his other 2011 wins - Mexico, Sardinia, Argentina and Finland.


The French ace beat his title rival Mikko Hirvonen by more than two minutes with the Finn's compatriot and Ford Fiesta team mate Jari-Matti Latvala third, 2min32 behind.

Loeb will go into November's final rally with an eight-point advantage over Hirvonen in the overall Drivers' standings.

It is Citroen's seventh World title and their fourth consecutive onesince 2008.

"It was a really good rally for us coming from three bad ones," Loeb said. "We did the perfect race, I would say with no mistakes. Mikko has taken a lot of points so we stay very close in the championship but the point for the power stage could be very important."


Loeb had led in Catalunya from the opening day on Friday. He posted the quickest time in Sunday's third stage, with the rally's closing stage captured by British driver Kris Meeke in a John Cooper Works Mini.

Loeb left Catalunya having made history after overtaking legendary Finn Markku Alen's record of 801 special-stage wins.

A minute's silence was held before he received his trophy as a mark of respect for Marco Simoncelli, the Italian Honda MotoGP rider killed in an horrific crash in the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.

Simoncelli was a passionate rally supporter and in September, 2011, tested a Ford Fiesta in Britain. There was a possibility that he might compete in a rally in Monza in 2012.

Driver and Constructor points after the 2011 Rally of Spain in Catalunya

1 Sebastien Loeb (France) 222
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) 214
3 Sebastien Ogier (France) 193
4 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) 146
5 Petter Solberg (Norway) 110
6 Mads Ostberg (Norway) 70
7 Daniel Sordo (Spain) 57
8 Matthew Wilson (Britain) 53
9 Henning Solberg (Norway) 44
10 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) 34
11 Federico Villagra (Argentina) 20
12 Dennis Kuipers (Netherlands) 17
13 Khalid Al Qassimi (United Arab Emirates) 15
14 Juho Haenninen (Finland) 14
15 Kris Meeke (Britain) 13
16 Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) 10   
17 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) 7
18 Ott Taenak (Estonia) 7
19 Per-Gunnar Andersson (Sweden) 6
20 Michal Kosciuszko (Poland) 6    
21 Armindo Araujo (Portugal) 4
22 Oleksandr Saliuk (Ukraine) 4
23 Ken Block (US) 4    
24 Peter van Merksteijn Jr. (Netherlands) 2
25 Benito Guerra (Mexico) 2
26 Pierre Campana (France) 2    
27 Bernardo Sousa (Portugal) 1
28 Patrik Flodin (Sweden) 1
1 Citroen Total WRT 397 points
2 Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 351
3 M-Sport Stobart Ford WRT 145
4 Petter Solberg World Rally Team 98
5 Ferm Powertools WRT 44
6 Team Abu Dhabi 42
7 Munchi's Ford WRT 38
8 Monster World Rally Team 19
9 van Merksteijn Motorsports 16
10 Brazil WRT 3


Inside Wheels24

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