Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) became the most successful driver in the sport's history by claiming his 27th WRC victory, moving ahead of Carlos Sainz in the all-time standings.
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) became the most successful driver in the sport's history by claiming his 27th WRC victory, moving ahead of Carlos Sainz in the all-time standings. The Kronos Citroen driver maintained his second day lead to hold off the Ford duo of Marcus Gronholm and Miko Hirvonen who finished second and third.
Ford duo, Chris Atkinson (Subaru) cruised through the final day to take fourth ahead of Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) who overcame gearbox problems. Dani Sordo (Citroen) was a comfortable sixth until he was held up by the stranded car of Luis Perez Companc (Ford) on the penultimate stage, losing more than a minute. That dropped him 1.2sec behind Toshi Arai (Subaru) in the final positions. Petter Solberg (Subaru) had continued brake problems this morning and dropped 3min 30sec, sliding from sixth to eighth and taking the final drivers' point. Gareth MacHale (Ford) retired three stages from the finish after hitting a bridge while Companc crashed out on the penultimate stage.
The championship returns to Europe for the first of two consecutive rounds in the eastern Mediterranean. The Cyprus Rally (21 - 24 September) is based in the coastal town of Limassol.
Rally of Japan final positions
1. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 3hr 22min 20.4sec
2. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 22min 26.0sec
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 25min 06.9sec
4. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 3hr 28min 28.2sec
5. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 3hr 29min 31.1sec
6. T Arai/T Sircombe J Subaru Impreza 3hr 31min 25.5sec
7. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 3hr 31min 26.7sec
8. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 3hr 34min 04.1sec
9. F Nutahara/D Barritt J Mitsubishi Lancer 3hr 45min 17.8sec
10 G Pozzo/D Stillo ARG Mitsubishi Lancer 3hr 45min 45.2sec
* Subject to the results of routine fuel analysis