Loeb's title frustrates Gronholm

Sebastien Loeb narrowly won the Rally of Germany yesterday, finishing just over three seconds ahead of Marcus Gronholm. A year after winning in Germany to clinch his maiden rally victory, it was a sweet successful title defence for the 29-year-old Frenchman.

There was a tense finish to the rally which had earlier been affected by heavy rain and was wide open going into the 22nd and final stage. Loeb's Citroën led by 13 seconds before the drivers set off on the 18.93km stage, and in the end he won by a slender 3.6sec.

Gronholm, in his Peugeot, took second place behind Markko Martin's Ford Focus in the climax to the race, but his time of 10min 32.7sec was not quick enough to displace Loeb at the top of the leaderboard.

"I am very happy," Loeb said. "I have had a good fight with Marcus all through the race."

Gronholm narrowly missed his first title on asphalt and said he was looking forward to the next race, which will be held in Finland in two weeks' time.

"The margin wasn't big, but big enough for Sebastien," Gronholm said. "It was a really difficult stage with lots of mud and cutting corners. Really bad."

Loeb took seventh place on the final stage, which was enough to secure victory and move him up to fourth in the season's world championship standings. Loeb's 10 points helped him to close in on the championship leader, Richard Burns.

The Briton, in a Peugeot, took six points for third -- 19.7sec off Loeb's pace - and is only four points ahead of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who finished sixth, at the top of the standings.

Gronholm, the defending world champion, benefited from eight points for finishing second to Loeb, and that strengthens his third-place standing. He now has 38 points, five more than Loeb who has been dogged by inconsistency this season.

Loeb's victory in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally has been followed by a flurry of disappointing results, with the Frenchman failing to score points on three events. A similar criticism can be made of Gronholm, with his points haul from Germany being the only time he has scored when not winning a rally.

The Finn has now won three rallies this season, while Burns has yet to stand on top of the rostrum despite leading the world championship standings. Yet the Briton has been scoring high points throughout the season. He has failed on just one occasion to get in the points, on the last rally prior to Germany, in Cyprus.

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all