Hot six for flying Frenchman

2012-03-12 00:07

Leon,Mexico - World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb, driving a Citroen, won his sixth successive Rally of Mexico title on Sunday.

The Frenchman finished 42.4sec ahead of team mate Mikko Hirvonen of Finland to extend his lead at the top of the championship after three rounds.

Loeb, an eight-times World champion, notched his 69th career victory and led Citroen's first double of the season.


"I always win here!" a beaming Loeb said. "It is a great result for the team as well, with Mikko finishing second, a 1-2 for us."

Norway's Petter Solberg grabbed third place in his factory Ford after team mate Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire.

Finland's Latvala was third overall when he rolled his Fiesta during the 54.3km Guanajuatito stage on Sunday.He limped to the finish but couldn't start the next, penultimate, stage because of the damage.

It was a final piece of bad luck for Latvala, who led after the third stage on Friday but was hampered by suspension damage later that day. He was slowed again by a puncture on Saturday.

Latvala, who suffered his second retirement of the season, was distracted by the crash of Evgeny
Novikov in front of him.

"I saw from far away Novikov's car and I was very confused," he said. "I first thought the car was on the road and I made a movement to avoid it and my car went off and rolled. It took a lot to get it back on the road."

Loeb seized the lead on the first full day of racing on Friday and never relinquished it.

The 25 points for the victory, and two power stage bonus points, take Loeb's total atop the standings
to 66 - 16 in front of Hirvonen and 19 in front of Solberg.

Result of the Rally of Mexico on Sunday
1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen 4hr15min32.7
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen +00min42.4
3 Petter Solberg (Norway) Ford +02min11.4
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford +04min51.5
5 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +05min02.6
6 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Citroen +06min41.4
7 Armindo Araujo (Portugal) Mini +12min46.9
8 Sebastien Ogier (France) Ford +14min57.8
9 Ken Block (US) Subaru +22min26.8
10 Ricardo Trivino (Mexico) Ford +23min30.7

Stage winners: P. Solberg 3 (1, =18, 24), Hirvonen 2 (2, 22), Latvala 8 (3, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16, 17, 20),
Loeb 7 (4, 5, 10, 14, 15, =18, 23), Al-Attiyah 1 (11), Atkinson 1 (12), Neuville 1 (21). (Note, SS9 cancelled, SS19 combined with SS18)

Drivers’ and Constructors’ points standings after the Rally of Mexico on Sunday

1 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen Total WRT 66
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen Total WRT 50
3 Petter Solberg (Norway) Ford World Rally Team 47
4 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Mads Ostberg 28
5 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Ford World Rally Team 26
6 Evgeny Novikov (Russia) M-Sport Ford WRT 21
7 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Mini WRC Team 18
8 Ott Taenak (Estonia) M-Sport Ford WRT 14
9 Nasser al-Attiyah (Qatar) Qatar World Rally Team 8
10 Francois Delecour (France) M-Sport Ford WRT 8

1 Citroen Total WRT 108
2 Ford World Rally Team 70
3 M-Sport Ford WRT 38
4 Mini WRC Team 26
5 Qatar World Rally Team 16
6 Adapta World Rally Team 12
7 Citroen Junior WRT 6