Michael Schumacher no longer has more motorsport world titles than any other driver...
with French rally driver Sébastien Loeb securing his eighth World Rally Championship title part way through the final round of 2011 World Rally Championship in the UK following the retirement of the only other contender for the 2011 drivers’ title.
Sébastien Loeb has not only won eight World titles* to Schumacher’s seven titles, the Citroen driver’s titles are all consecutive and Loeb’s name and that of the Citroen rally cars he has piloted sit alongside just about ever record in the World Rally Championship.
Having already gifted Citroen its seventh manufacturers’ world title in the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship, Loeb went into the final round, Rally GB, the weekend (11-13 November 2011) with his rival, Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen just a handful of points behind him in the Championship title race, knowing he not only had to finish in first or second place to take the title, he also had to win the final ‘Power Stage’ which also provides points for title chase.
For the first seven stages the two drivers were neck and neck, swapping the event lead, with Loeb further under threat when the defensive shield of his team mate, Sébastien Ogier, crashed out. Meanwhile, Hirvonen’s team mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, joined Hirvonen in pouring on the pressure on Loeb and his Citroen DS3.
But on Stage Seven it all went wrong for Hirvonen when he went off the road and damaged his radiator. Ford later confirmed that the damage to his car was terminal and he was completely out of the event, handing Loeb his eighth World title.
In the last round of the World Rally Championship, Loeb secure one of the last records he does not already hold, with his 802nd fastest stage time beating the record set by Markku Alen. This joins the catalogue of other records Loeb holds, as well as eight world titles, including the record for the most WRC wins, with 67 podiums – or 68 if he finishes in front in Wales, 103 podium finishes from 150 rallies, giving him the record for the most podium finishes, while a total 1281 points gives him the most career WRC points. Loeb’s win ratio of 44% is also another record. Other records carrying the names of Loeb and Citroen include the most wins in one season (2008, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010) while when it comes to the most consecutive wins, Loeb holds the top four places, with six consecutive wins in 2005 and 2006 and five consecutive wins in 2006 and 2008.
He also has lead the most 1-2 wins and the most 1-2-3 wins in a season, as well as the most tarmac wins and the most consecutive tarmac wins. He has won the Rally of Germany eight times, a record for winning one event, while his six wins in Argentina and Spain, and five wins in Mexico and on the Monte Carlo are records for those events, and his 23 wins in different events is yet another record. And, as through this record breaking career, Loeb’s co driver Daniel Elena has been his side, Elena shares these records and they are the most successful crew of all time.
All of these records have been achieved behind the wheel of a Citroen, starting with the Citroen Xsara, which won the manufacturers’ title in 2003, 2004 and 2005, followed by the Citroen C4 WRC in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. This year Loeb is continuing his winning ways behind the wheel of the Citroen DS3 WRC. This means that Citroen holds the record for the most manufacturer wins – 79 wins – the longest run of wins with eight this year for the DS3 WRC, the longest run of podium finishes – 38 from 2008 to 2010 and 25 from 2005 to 2006 – and the largest number of 1-2-3 wins in one season, as well as the most wins in one season in 2005 and 2008 with 11 wins.