Sebastien Loeb won Rally Deutschland for Citroen on the weekend, taking him a step closer to his seventh WRC title
Loeb beat his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo by 51.3 seconds, stretching his title lead to 58 points over Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier and claiming his 59th world championship rally win in the process.
Loeb led throughout the 19-stage all-asphalt event, which covered a distance of 407 kilometres, making it the longest round of the WRC so far this season.
“It’s a very good victory for me, quite incredible and I’m really pleased to win. I have a good feeling here in Germany and I don’t like to be beaten on this rally even though I wasn’t sure before the start that I could win because Dani was strong and because this is not an easy rally. We have a bigger lead in the championship now and this is also good,” the 39-year-old said.
Loeb had the fastest time on two of Sunday’s five special stages, which brought his total number of stage wins on the rally to nine.
Sordo, whose second place was his third podium finish of 2010, is now fifth in the title chase, ahead of Mikko Hirvonen who retired when his Ford Focus suffered a broken gearbox on Sunday’s second stage.
Ogier made it a Citroen podium lockout after fending off Jari-Matti Latvala, and Petter Solberg finished fifth in his privately-run C4.
Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen finished 3.8 seconds behind Briton Matthew Wilson.
Khalid Al Qassimi completed his recovery from 61st position after sliding into a ditch on Friday’s opening test by finishing eighth overall in his Focus.
Ken Block should have claimed the first points of his WRC career, but a broken alternator belt on the road section heading to Sunday’s first stage resulted in his premature exit from the event.
New Zealand's Haydon Paddon came away with 6 stage wins in the PWRC event, and holds onto second position overall.