It has been a fantastic weekend in Australia for the Kronos Total Citroen team and its driver line-up. The rally ended with the happy news that 14,000 kilometres away from Perth, their team leaders Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena had become FIA World Rally Champions for the third consecutive time - subject to FIA confirmation.
"Mission accomplished, thanks to excellent teamwork," was the conclusion of Marc Van Dalen, Kronos Total Citroen. "One year ago, Citroen Sport entrusted us with the responsibility of giving Seb and Daniel the best possible chance of defending their world titles. The challenge was far from easy : we had to back up Seb and Daniel with the best rally team in the world. Everyone at Kronos Racing should feel proud. Thanks to their hard work and commitment, with perfect support from Citroen Sport, our objectives have been met. This emotional moment is one to savour. The miracles of the internet and modern technology have allowed us to share it with Seb and Daniel, who were on a live link to us. Now we cannot wait to have them back, so that we can celebrate this third world title together..."
The result came from the finish placing of rival Marcus Gronholm, who needed to finish fourth or higher to have a chance at upstaging the points lead Loeb enjoyed.
After rolling on the opening stage Gronholm worked up to finish fifth overall and out of contention for the 2006 drivers title.
Being told of the news at 5:30am in the morning, Loeb was naturally pleased at his third consecutive title.
"Just now, it's hard to realise. It's a bit too early in France... Given the way it happened and also because I was angry with myself after my accident and the fact that it stopped me competing, I felt relieved. I don't think many people thought it was possible to clinch this title with a private team, even if it is supported by Citroën Sport. I am very happy for Kronos and our partners, especially BFGoodrich. Thanks to their faultless work, we were able to build up a valuable advantage on the first twelve rounds which helped us to reach the target today."
While the drivers title is secure, the manufacturers title is in rival Ford hands presently, something Loeb would like to return to the series to take for his Citroen team:
"Now I can drive my road car on normal roads. But as far as getting back behind the wheel of a WRC car goes, I am unable to give you a date yet, and neither are the people looking after me. The minimum I can hope for is to take part in the New Zealand rally recce, as the route has changed a lot. So even if I don't compete on the event this year, I won't have to discover it completely next year. For the rest I need to be patient. It gives me some time to savour my third title..."