Citroen ace pips Ford's Mikko Hirvonen to world title in Wales
25 October 2009

Sebastien Loeb has won the World Rally Championship for a record-extending sixth time after claiming victory on Rally GB.

The Citroen driver had arrived at the season finale one point behind Mikko Hirvonen and facing his toughest title battle in many years, but led the rally throughout.

See the hi-res pics from Rally GB

See the hi-res pics from behind the scenes with the Ford WRC team

Hirvonen (Ford) admitted he had been too cautious on Friday's opening loop, but fought back and cut Loeb's lead from 9s to 2.4s by SS7.

But then Loeb all but secured the championship with an incredible performance on the next two stages, where he extended his lead to a comfortable 25s.

Hirvonen started closing in again on Sunday morning until his bonnet came loose and obscured his view on the penultimate stage, forcing him to stop and remove it, and leaving Loeb free to cruise to victory and the world championship.

"It has been an incredible season - a very good start then we lost everything in the middle of the season," said Loeb. "It was big, big pressure and I'm really happy about this one because Mikko was really strong. It was an incredible battle all season."

Hirvonen was downcast, saying: "I need to get back to work and find more speed for next year. We are now really close to Sebastien and that feels good, but it's still a big disappointment in the end."

The Finn's late drama almost allowed Dani Sordo to complete a Citroen one-two, as the Spaniard closed to within 0.9s of the Ford. But Hirvonen was 0.1s quicker on SS14, leaving Sordo to settle for third.

Result:1. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) 3h16m25.4s2. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) +1m06.1s3. Dani Sordo (Citroen) +1m07.1s4. Petter Solberg (Citroen) +1m28.1s5. Henning Solberg (Ford) +6m28.0s6. Matthew Wilson (Ford) +7m46.0s7. Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) +12m11.9s8. Conrad Rautenbach (Citroen) +14m27.8s9. Eyvind Brynildsen (Skoda) +22m22.7s10. Armindo Araujo (Mitsubishi) +24m18.8s

Join the debate

Comments
3

25 October 2009

alez alez Bravo Loeb , salut du Kroatie!

25 October 2009

Yeah congratulations (again!) Seb! You had us going for a while there, didn't you?

26 October 2009

Can't actually see this bloke being knocked off top spot as long as he remains in rallying. Simply the greatest driver the sport has ever seen. Many occasions he hasn't had the best car, yet has seen off many rivals over the last 6 seasons.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK