Belfast Telegraph

Sebastien Loeb ends era with same old story

By Sammy Hamill

Sebastien Loeb brought down the curtain on the WRC supercar era with victory on the Rally of Great Britain.

Already world champion for a record seventh time, Loeb made sure it was Citroen who finished with a flourish, recording his eighth win of the season and the 62nd of his incredible career before rallying moves on next season to a new breed of 1600cc turbocharged cars.

But the French ace, a two-time Rally Ireland winner, had to fight for the victory, being challenged all the way by the privateer Citroen C4 of Norwegian Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson who finished just 19 seconds behind.

Although Patterson only joined the team in mid-season, it was their fifth podium finish in the last seven rounds but Solberg was denied the runners-up spot in the championship as Ford team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala swapped places in the final two stages yesterday.

Latvala had led initially but lost over a minute following a puncture, dropping to sixth, but recovered to fourth before moving ahead of Ford No.1 Hirvonen on the penultimate stage to secure enough points to edge Solberg out of second place in the championship standings.

Dani Sordo completed the top five on his last appearance for Citroen.

Further back, Ulster Rally winner Craig Breen produced an outstanding performance to finish in 12th place overall in his privateer Ford Fiesta, the 20-year-old from Waterford also taking second place behind the Skoda Fabia of Andreas Mikkelsen and ahead of the Fiesta of Loeb’s former Kronos Citroen team-mate Xavi Pons.

Eamonn Boland, the 2008 Irish Tarmac champion, finished 27th in his production Mitsubishi.

Belfast Telegraph

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