Frenchman Sebastien Loeb clinched his fifth World Rally Championship title when he drove his Citroen C4 WRC to this place in last weekend’s Rally Japan.
He came home behind the works Ford Focus RSs of Mika Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala in the three-day event which Hirvonen had led from special stage one.
August’s Rally New Zealand was a critical moment for Loeb’s title; he regained the series points lead after winning the event on the final test after first rally leader Latvala crashed and Hirvonen spun – both on the final special stage on the Whaanga Coast near Raglan in the Waikato.
The spin, which dropped him to second place, also dropped Hirvonen from the drivers’ series lead, and Loeb consolidated his advantage on the next two events, both on tarmac.
Meanwhile, luck smiled on British driver Lewis Hamilton in last Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix and the upshot was the 2008 Formula 1 drivers’ world crown.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, the home town hero, won the event and looked set to take the championship.
Hamilton, who had to finish fifth or better to keep his title chances alive, was running sixth on the final lap.
And then on the final corner Toyota’s Timo Glock slid off after opting to stay out on slick dray weather tyres, despite steady rain.
That elevated Hamilton to fifth place and clinched his first drivers’ world championship.
Check back later in the week for interviews with Loeb and Hamilton.