Loeb back on top with comfortable triumph

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The Independent Online

Six-times world champion Sébastien Loeb cruised to an easy victory in the Rally of Mexico yesterday to move top of the drivers' standings after two races.

The Frenchman, who started the day in first place for Citroen almost a minute ahead of Norwegian Petter Solberg, finished 24.2 seconds ahead of the pack for his 55th victory at world championship level.

Citroen driver Solberg and Sebastien Ogier were left to scrap it out for the runner-up spot, providing a thrilling finale.

Former world champion Solberg narrowly trailed Frenchman Ogier going into the decisive Super Special stage but set the fastest time to beat the Citroen Junior Team driver to second overall by 1.1 seconds.

"I had a good lead today and was not going to take any risks with that when I started first on the road," Loeb, who has now won in Mexico four years in a row, told the World Rally Championship website (http://www.wrc.com).

"I was just breezing through the last couple of stages trying to keep my concentration. It's a good victory; I'm back in the lead of the championship and the points we lost in Sweden we've won back - that's important.

Behind Citroen's top-three finish, Ford's Rally of Sweden winner Mikko Hirvonen finished fourth with his team mate Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top five.

Loeb has a six-point lead over Finn Hirvonen in the championship standings. The next round of the championship is the Jordan Rally which starts on April 1.