Rallying: Loeb crowned king of Monte Carlo once again


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The Independent Online

The eight-time world champion Sébastien Loeb continued his dominance of the Monte Carlo Rally by completing his sixth career victory in the event yesterday.

The French driver took a maximum haul of 28 points from the event after completing the rally win, also finishing first on the closing power stage, which gave him the bonus of three extra points. Loeb powered his Citroen DS3 WRC to first place with a dominant display as one of his former Citroen team-mates, the Spaniard Dani Sordo, piloted his Mini to second place.

It was Loeb's 68th career victory and afterwards the Frenchman said: "It's always a great moment to start the season like this especially in front of so many fans. Full points in the first race is incredible and for sure it's the perfect start to my title defence.

"But Monte Carlo is my rally and for the others we will have to see."

Sordo's second place in the Mini John Cooper Works WRC was the manufacturer's first podium placing in the Monte Carlo Rally in 45 years. It was Finland's Rauno Aaltonen who took the overall victory back in 1967, in a Cooper S.

A satisfied Sordo said: "We had no problems at all today. Yesterday I was 'sleeping' a little bit in the stages, so I lost a bit of time to Petter [Solberg], but I am happy with the result. This is great for both me and the team. Being second for the second time for our new team is really, really good."

Third place went to Solberg of Norway, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, with Mikko Hirvonen of Finland finishing fourth on his debut for the works Citroen squad.

The Russian driver Evgeny Novikov took fifth in the M-Sport Fiesta and his French team-mate, François Delecour, was sixth.

Another Frenchman, Pierre Campana, was seventh in the second Mini.

Ott Tanak of Estonia ended in eighth place in his M-Sport Fiesta while the Czech Martin Prokop finished ninth in a Fiesta.

The Portuguese Armindo Araujo, driving a Mini, completed the top 10.