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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019

Loeb cruises to ninth German crown

Win extends French driver’s Championship lead to 54 points.

World Champion Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena with their WRC Citroen DS3.
World Champion Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena with their WRC Citroen DS3.
Image: Petros Giannakouris/AP/Press Association Image

SEBASTIAN LOEB WRAPPED up his ninth Rally of Germany title with another commanding performance on Sunday.

The result was the Frenchman’s seventh victory of 2012 and his fifth in a row, giving him a 54-point lead in the Championship heading into the Wales Rally next month.

In difficult conditions over the weekend, Loeb won nine stages – including Sunday’s test Dhrontal and the power stage in Trier – to set up a dominant overall win by two minutes.

“It was a hard rally, the conditions were extremely difficult, which meant I had some very difficult tyre choices to make,” the Citroen driver said.

“We had a good drive, a perfect car and I made no mistake. Winning the power stage also meant this was a perfect weekend. I also had a lot of support from the fans.”

Jari-Matti Latvala recovered from a crash at the beginning of leg two to take second for Ford, finishing just over two minutes behind Loeb and 31.3 seconds ahead of third-placed Mikko Hirvonen.

Adapta Ford driver Mads Ostberg finished fourth in the rally, 3:24 behind Loeb, with a big gap to fifth-placed Chris Atkinson who finished over nine minutes behind.

After Loeb took stage honours in the first race of the day, Norwegian Petter Solberg was able to win the second stage by 1.2 seconds over countryman Ostberg.

Loeb rounded out the rally with an impressive performance in the final Trier power stage, finishing 2.2 seconds ahead of Hirvonen.

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Steven O'Rourke

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