German winelands win for Loeb
ANCIENT AND MODERN: Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena's Citroen DS3 pass the historic Roman Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany, to win the last section of the 2012 Rally of Germany. Image: AP
Trier, Germany - France's Sebastien Loeb won the 2012 Rally of Germany on Sunday to claim his ninth win there in a decade with Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala second and Mikko Hirvonen finishing third.
Loeb finished 2min00.1 clear of Latvala, with Hirvonen at 2min31.4, to claim the 74th win of his career and strengthen his lead at the top of the World Rally championship Drivers' table.
Having led from the first timed practice on Thursday, Loeb proved again he is at home on the twisting roads around Trier in the wine-growing Moselle valley having first won the Germany rally in 2002.
NINE STAGE WINS
The 38-year-old Citroen driver opened a 20sec lead on Friday and extended the gap on Saturday as his Ford rival Petter Solberg damaged his car's rear right suspension hitting a rock after an error.
Loeb went into the final day with a lead of 1min42 and won the ninth rally in the 2012 WRC schedule by taking nine of the 15 stages, including the final one Sunday on the streets of Trier.
"The Rallye Deutschland is a race where it is easy to make mistakes," Loeb said. "A lot of drivers have made them. This is a tricky rally with narrow roads. We managed to not make a mistake from the beginning and I drove very clean.
"The result is there to see."
The next event on the calender is the Rally of Wales in Britain starting on September 13 in Cardiff, the 10th of 13 in a season which culminates in the Rally of Spain on November 11.
Result from the 2012 Rally of Germany
1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen 3hr41min52.4
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Ford +2min00.1
3 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen +2min31.4
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford +3min24.4
5 Chris Atkinson (Australia) Mini +9min10.4
6 Sebastien Ogier (France) Skoda +9min50.8
7 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) Skoda +12min22.7
8 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Citroen +12min50.4
9 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +13min01.3
10 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Mini +14min17.3