Rallying: Loeb conquers pain to win in Monte Carlo

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The Independent Online

The reigning world champion, Sébastien Loeb, overcame the effects of a broken arm to dominate the opening event of his title defence in Monte Carlo yesterday.

The Citroën driver took the opening round of the 2007 World Championship with a comfortable win over his Spanish team-mate Dani Sordo. Loeb had gone into the event feeling the after-effects of a broken arm he sustained last year but drove as if in perfect health.

"I haven't recovered completely - my shoulder is not so strong at the moment," the Frenchman said. "I have yet to recover all the strength in my shoulder, I have difficulty making certain movements."

Loeb dominated from the start, winning six stages out of 15 to beat Sordo by 38.2sec. He took his third win in four years in Monte Carlo and a 29th World Rally Championship victory.

Finland's Marcus Gronholm was third for Ford, over a minute behind Loeb. Gronholm's fellow Finn and Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen led Australia's Chris Atkinson by less than a second going into the final stage but the Subaru driver snatched fourth with an impressive time.