WRC: Rally de España – Sebastien Loeb takes victory, his first in five years

WRC: Rally de España – Sebastien Loeb takes victory, his first in five years

The nine-time world champion, making his final guest appearance of the season with Citroën Racing, edged defending title holder Sébastien Ogier by 2.9sec in an intense finale to the four-day mixed surface event.

Ogier’s consolation was that he regained the championship lead by three points from Thierry Neuville with one round remaining. The Belgian was relegated from third to fourth, and missed out on crucial bonus points, after hitting a stone near the finish.

Loeb, who retired from full-time competition in 2012, last stood on the winners’ podium in Argentina in 2013.

He lay third overnight but charged into the lead by winning Sunday’s opening two speed tests as an inspired tyre choice reaped rewards.

The asphalt roads dried quickly after overnight rain and the 44-year-old was the only front-running driver to gamble on Michelin’s hard compound tyres, which provided better grip than the softer option favoured by his rivals.

Loeb threw away vital seconds with a spin in the penultimate test to allow Ogier to close in his Ford Fiesta. He held on through the final 14.50km test for his ninth Spanish win.

“The information we had from the weather team was right. The roads were drying and I knew if I used hard tyres in these conditions I could be fast,” he said.

“To win after almost six years is incredible, but to do so in a battle like this, where you only discover after the finish line that you have won, is amazing. I never believed I would win again.”

Tyre choice errors early in the event cost Ogier dear, but this season’s remarkable title fight swung back in his favour when Neuville hit a stone close to the finish.

The impact broke his Hyundai i20’s right rear wheel and allowed Elfyn Evans, team-mate to Ogier, to snatch third and aid his colleague’s title bid. Evans ended 0.5sec clear of Neuville.

Spain’s Dani Sordo was a further 1.6sec behind in fifth, while early leader Ott Tänak recovered to sixth after yesterday’s puncture. The Estonian is 23 points adrift of Ogier and with a maximum 30 available at the last round, his hopes hang by a thread.

Overnight leader Jari-Matti Latvala remained second until he hit a barrier in the penultimate stage, punctured his front left tyre and dropped nearly 50sec. He finished eighth.

The championship showdown takes place at Kennards Hire Rally Australia. The gravel event is based in Coffs Harbour on 15 – 18 November.

Leading positions:
1. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Citroën C3 3hr 12min 08.0sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Ford Fiesta + 2.9sec
3. E Evans / D Barritt GBR Ford Fiesta + 16.5sec
4. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 + 17.0sec
5. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 + 18.6sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris + 1min 03.9sec

FIA World Rally Championship (round 12 of 13):
1. S Ogier 204pts
2. T Neuville 201pts
3. O Tänak 181pts

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18 minutes ago

MotoGP

"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - @Rins42

Here his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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👊🏻✊🏻🏍💨💎

Good job Alex rin 42, anak bayi tidak ada apa2 nya😅😅

Good job Rins but consistency make World Champion

13 hrs ago

F1

Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

I would say McLaren even though I'm team Hamilton

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

I think the fact that Kimi drags that 8th place car into the points is the most impressive

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

Mclaren And Williams 0 dnf not so many points but reliability is very good

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

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18 hrs ago

F1

The crash 💥 The surprise 😱 The battle ⚔️

Spa treated us to a scintillating race last season ⚡️
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I can't wait for next weekend. Spa always produces some awesome action

That Vettel move was such a good sign and made so much hope for the title in 2018, but then horror began and continued until today 😞 I hope that Vettel will win at least one of the next two races, maybe the last chances this year

The circuit spa is amazing..

Leclerc was lucky with the halo there. Things could have ended very badly.. Also, the 4 car moment at the end of the first sector was amazing👌

I was there with my sons. Last years

Counting the days and hours for the arrival of the weekend. It is impressive, the spectacles provided in this SPA GP!

I remember this race.The best thing was Ocon almost overtook Vettal overtaking Hamilton. Ocon has to sit in the Mercedes at some point in the future.

What a race! Hoping for the same again next week 👍

Was that the very last time Vettel won a race? Wow an entire year has gone by.

Going to be interesting this year, couple nice long almost straights that Ferrari can hopefully lay down the power, those midrange corners that Red Bull look so comfortable going through at high speed, than the tighter sections that Mercedes just seems to find seconds on other cars, needless to say either Ferrari or Red Bull let the Mercedes go and that’s race over, but Charles or Max get in front of Lewis it’s going to be a great race

I have a feeling that the Ferraris will do it again. We will not hear the name verstappen so much this weekend.

Lets see next week if merc and redbull will match the straigth line speed of ferrari. Cant wait the qualifying and race on sunday.

Was a good race, hoping this yr will be just as good

I wanna know what LeClerc's thoughts process was as a McLaren flies over the top of him 😂

Clamoroso come Charlie Whiting aspettò che Vettel superasse Hamilton per dare il via alla Safety Car

Beyoncé would be proud of the Halo!

So the halo works。。👍🏼👍🏼

People cry about the halo but Charles had luck to have it.

What an overtake from Ferrari that was ...I missed the 2018's Ferrari ....not this SP90

This Race showed why the Halo Makes completly sense. Leclercs carrer could have Ended Right there

That's also why "even" Perez is a better racer than Ocon. My opinion. Look at the drag race after Eau Rouge coming up to Le Combes

Waited until Seb past Hamilton to safety car the race...who remembers this🤦🏾‍♂️🤔

Was there watching sat in the stadium right on that corner, exciting stuff!

Montana this is one of the most legendary F1 tracks of all time, next race is there in a week!

Only one week to go, before lights out!

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