Winning WRC Japan 2006 after 27 stages was Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elna's 27th WRC victory, claimed after a sumptuous and nail-biting battle that lasted throughout the entire three days of the rally. Its intensity, duration and uncertainty will stick in the mind for many years to come.
This 27th career victory and claimed one of the few remaining records that had not yet been in their possession : the record for the total number of career wins, which they had held jointly with Spanish legend Carlos Sainz since the Rallye Deutschland. Now, this historic landmark is theirs alone.
Running in second place during the second day, Loeb took the lead - although under intense pressure:
"At the start of the final leg, I thought that the eight points for second place would have been a good result for the championship. Then we took the decision just to go for it, to try everything. The fight was too good just to walk away and settle for second. Mentally, that was an important turning point. But once we had decided on that course of action, Daniel and I were only thinking about one thing. We had no split times so it was just a question of going flat-out and driving as quickly as possible on order to try and win. On the last stage, we took a few risks. The smell of victory, and the potential joy of a team that once again performed faultlessly, made it all worth it..."