Five-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb notched up a landmark 50th WRC victory when he won the Cyprus Rally last weekend.
The Frenchman and co-driver Daniel Elena dominated the part-asphalt, part-gravel event in their Citroen C4 WRC. The pair beat the Ford Focus of Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and the privately run Citroen Xsara of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills.
Following his win, Loeb's rivals lavished praise on him. "Fifty wins for Seb is amazing," Hirvonen said. "If he keeps going it probably means 50 second places for me... When I think of the time and how many years he has been driving, it is unbelievable. He has my full respect."
Petter Solberg was the last man to beat Loeb to a WRC title, when he won the 2003 crown. "Seb has done an unbelievable achievement. I take my hat off to him," said the Norwegian. "There are not many sports stars in the world who have achieved something like this and we have to respect that. He has a good team and a good combination and the passion is 110 per cent.
"He is in the history books and will be there a long time. I have to drive until I am 50 or 60 years old now to beat that! It takes a lot of things to go right to do it."
Loeb has now won all four WRC events held this season, but has played down suggestions he could win all 12 events in this year’s calendar. "At the moment anything is possible," he said. "I will try and win and do my best."
WRC winsSebastien Loeb 50Marcus Gronholm 30Carlos Sainz 26Colin McRae 25Tommi Makinen 24Juha Kankkunen 23Didier Auriol 20Markku Alen 19Hannu Mikkola 18Miki Biasion 17