Loeb wins in Spanish battle

Mr Loeb has entertained World Rally Championship and its millions of fans over the last decade with this brilliant driving skill, attitude to rallying and professionalism. Today’s WRC RallyRACC-Rally de Espana concluded not only the 2012 WRC season, but also closed a chapter on the sport’s history as Sebastien Loeb (Citroën Total World Rally Team) takes a part-time approach for the 2013 season.

The rally didn’t start off according to the Frenchman’s script, with Ford’s young stars Ott Tanak (M-Sport Ford Rally Team) and Mads Ostberg (Adapta World Rally Team) taking charge on Day One. Loeb moved in front on the asphalt of Day Two and remained at the head of the field to keep the rest of the field behind his Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC. This was his and co-driver Daniel Elena’s eighth in Spain.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford World Rally Team) brought his career at the Blue Oval squad to an end with second overall, keeping Loeb honest on the stages and splitting the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Mikko Hirvonen behind him for third place overall. Latvala’s strong peformance, and bonus points from the Power Stage, earned him the third place in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

“For sure I really wanted to win this rally,” said Loeb. “We were really struggling in the start because it was really tricky on the first day. On the Tarmac I was able to take the lead, but today was not easy because we had some strange tyre choice and Jari-Matti was pushing very hard and getting closer.”

“I would like to have done one more stage because it has been good to fight with Loeb,” said Latvala. “I have had some fantastic years with Ford and thanks to Malcolm Wilson for being so supportive even though I’ve had many crashes.”

Ostberg finished fourth with Jarkko Nikara (Prodrive MINI) moving up to fifth position. Tanak and WRC debutant Hans Weijs (Citroën DS3 WRC) both crashed out after sensational drives all weekend long.

Craig Breen (Ford Fiesta S2000) secured the Super 2000 World Rally Championship crown in a career-best sixth overall, after claiming the WRC Academy crown in 2011. Watch this Irish youngster in the near future!

Next year’s WRC season fires into life on WRC Rallye Monte Carlo on 15 January 2013, 64 days from now.

Final Classification:
01) S. Loeb – 04h 14m 29.1s
02) J-M. Latvala + 07s
03) M. Hirvonen + 01m 46.8s
04) M. Ostberg + 01m 56.4s
05) J. Nikara + 16m 07.9s
06) C. Breen + 18m 10.4s
07) C. Atkinson + 19m 14.7s
08) P.G. Andersson + 20m 16.1s
09) D. Sordo + 25m 40.6s
10) E. Novikov + 25m 46.6s