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Handbrakes and Hairpins Issue 13

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Loeb One Step Closer To Championship Title The WRC Rally Ireland’s leaderboard looked no different from other events this year, as Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena’s names topped the time sheets. The first time the WRC circus has dashed over Irish roads, it was regarded by many crews as the toughest rally of the calendar. Narrow roads, rain, bumps and slick muddy roads characterised this event. Loeb’s latest victory means he has won every tarmac rally this year, and is now the undisputed Tarmac king of the WRC. And it also means that Loeb is back in the chase for the Drivers’ title, as Marcus Gronholm retired on Day One of the event. If my mathematic calculations are correct, Loeb only needs to finish fifth in the WRC Rally Wales GB to win his fourth WRC Drivers’ crown. “We had an early scare with a damper on the run-out to SS2, so the start of the rally was quite stressful,” related Loeb. “However, we soon found ourselves in a strong position to win and consequently boost our chances in the fight for the Drivers’ title. It was an opportunity we couldn’t afford to let pass by. The biggest challenge over these very difficult stages was finding a pace that enabled us to stay in control while at the same time making the most of the speed of our C4 WRC. It wasn’t easy and I am so happy to have won here in Sligo today.” Dani Sordo, Loeb’s team-mate at the Citroen Total World Rally Team, made it another one-two finish on tarmac for Citroen. The Spaniard has proven to be a great asset to the factory team after the potential shown last year in the Xsara. “It was more of a mud rally than an asphalt event,” quipped the young Spaniard. “There were so many potential pitfalls and it was by no means simple. Our C4 went extremely well in the conditions, though, and enabled us to secure our fourth consecutive podium finish.” Not all the luck went to the red cars this weekend. With Mikko Hirvonen’s help BP-Ford clinched the Manufacturers’ crown with

one event to go. Just needing three points to wrap things up the Finn worked hard to stay in the top five after teammate Gronholm dropped out. In the end, Hirvonen claimed fourth for himself and the title for the team. By far the most consistent driver this year, he promises to be one of Loeb’s top challengers next season. “It was a difficult weekend,” said Hirvonen. “I had to keep reminding myself to drive cautiously but I did the job that was required and it’s fantastic for the team to win the title. I’m so pleased for everyone, they deserve it. It’s hard to drive at less than flat out pace and find a rhythm but I had to do that because I wanted these points so badly. For some reason it feels better than our first win last year. I expected this to be a tough rally because the roads here are so narrow and bumpy. The rain made it even harder and this is definitely the most difficult asphalt round of the season.”

ALL WRC IMAGES: RallyStuff.Net

Ford can also claim the highest ranked privateer team. Stobart M-Sport slipped into third place in the Constructors’ Championship over Subaru when Jari-Matti Latvala finished in third place in the WRC Rally Ireland. The underdog team is sitting on cloud nine but the spot isn’t officially theirs yet. Only one point separates the two teams as they head into the finale. For Latvala, the excellent finish here makes it two podiums in as many races. “It’s an amazing feeling to be on the podium especially on a tarmac rally,” exclaimed Latvala. “I have tried so hard all year and this result has given me a massive boost. I have come very close before, most recently in Japan, but to get this result here has more than made up for it. The conditions were so difficult here and I knew before the rally that it was going to be a hard one but I have driven sensibly and it has been a very strong performance from both myself and Miikka. Now I am looking forward to Rally GB where we will be back on gravel; we had a great result on this rally last year so hopefully we can repeat this again.” Latvala is another young driver quickly establishing himself as a WRC ace. In fact, this young Finn, Hirvonen and Sordo round out a new generation of top drivers in the series. Gronholm is retiring at the end of this season after having won championships against great drivers like Makinen, Carlos Sainz and Collin McRae, making him a rally legend as well. The new top man will lead this new generation into the record books, Loeb is still young at 33 and has many more events ahead of him. It will be interesting to watch which of these three 20-somethings will give Loeb a run for his money. In two weeks’ time, the 2007 WRC season will come to a close in Wales at the Rally of Great Britain. The strategies for the drivers are, for the most part, already easy to predict. For Loeb, finishing should be the only goal. So long as nothing goes wrong it won’t be hard for the reigning champ to finish in the top five. Counter to that, Gronholm must win and might take a few more risks to pull it off. Hirvonen will be tasked with trying to stay between the two while Sordo might have to watch he doesn’t take a top five finish away from his teammate. Meanwhile Latvala will have his head down to keep two angry Subaru drivers at bay. Sibling bragging rights is also riding on the line for third in the manufacturers’ title. Petter and Henning Solberg wont rest until one of their respective team finishes on top. This weekend Petter didn’t get the birthday gift he was wishing for, but, instead, his concern expressed yesterday came true, as his older brother’s team got in front of his. Now Christmas with the Solbergs might be a little strained. This sibling rivalry is sure to intensify in cheekiness as the season draws to a close.

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Fuel Stop: News Briefs Richards To Focus On Subaru WRT Full-Time


Prodrive boss David Richards is set to rejoin the Subaru World Rally Team full-time after another very disappointing season for the Japanese manufacturer in the world rally championship. The former World Champion co-driver has vowed to rule the team with an iron fist, in an attempt to regain control of a team that seems to be constantly behind the eight ball. “This is about clear leadership and a demonstrable plan enforced from the top down,” Richards said on “Everybody, and I mean everybody, will comply with this plan.” Richards added: “I’m not having anybody in this team with individual agendas. If that means I have to get in there and bang heads together then I’ll do just that. “I will be very, very forceful in this. I don’t care about breaking a few eggs.” It is believed that Norwegian Petter Solberg has not been happy with the team in recent times. However, the 2003 world champion will have no choice but to stay at Subaru for next year, as almost no chance of joining either the championship winning teams of Ford or Citroen in 2008. Subaru have not won a rally since switching to the 2006-spec Impreza WRC. The car has been constantly off the pace of it’s rivals, and this year has only managed a podium finish on two occasions. Subaru have not won a World Rally Championship event for two years. The last win for the team was Wales Rally GB in 2005, when Sebastien Loeb took a time penalty in order to avoid winning the championship that weekend. This was following the tragic accident involving co-driver Michael “Beef” Park. The last time a Subaru Impreza world rally car won a world rally event outright, was thanks to Petter Solberg on the Rally Mexico, in the early part of 2005. The team will no doubt be hoping that the new 2008 Impreza WRC hatchback will be a lot more competitive, which at current reports, will be set to debut on the Rally Mexico on February 28th 2008, which is the event that Subaru last tasted outright success. Source: UK magazine Autosport

2007 US Rally Champions Announced

The United States Rally Championship completed its third season on a high note with the final round at the well-attended Laughlin International Rally, a FIA-listed event, and Motorsport Festival that took place in Laughlin, Nevada on November 8 – 11, 2007. Laughlin is located eighty miles south of Las Vegas. Michael Taylor, the USRC President, announced the new National Champions. They are Seamus Burke, Driver and Eddie Fries, Co-Driver, in the All-Wheel Drive USRC Championship, and Bill Holmes, Driver and Kevin Carter, Co-Driver in the USRC TwoWheel Drive Championship. Josh Wimpey, Driver and Jeremy Wimpey, Co-Driver, and Kevin Carter, Co-Driver are the USRC Rookie Champions. The Championship will announce its 2008 Calendar shortly with the final round of the Championship anticipated in the Atlantic Division, allowing Pacific Division competitors the chance to travel east at seasons end.

Letter From Rally Legend Spotti Woodhead

Hi there, Here is some background to Stuart Pegg and rallying in South Africa. Neels Vermaak and I ran an Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 1600 in the 1969 Total Rally and built another for the 1970 Total with a 1750 engine. Our year old car we lent to Giovanni Piazza Musso who had recently arrived from Kenya. Our previous car a Beetle 1600 we had sold to Evan McKenzie and we persuaded him to navigate for Giovanni as part of our two car team . They finished 15th using a twin plug ignition Autodelta head on our subassembly. With the original head fitted I drove that car in the 1971 Transvaal regional championship. Giovanni was supplied with a 1300cc Alfa for the 71 season. He was frustrated at not yet having won an event here so asked me to navigate him in the Premium 500 Natal national non championship event. This we won . Photo is on roof of Ocean City Durban in gymkhana test. The last event in the SA Championship that year was won by Giovanni and Stuart Pegg in a very misty rally where they beat Jan Hettema the mist master. Stuart went on to later win the 1975 Total Rally with Roger Clark and the 1976 SA Championship with Jan Hettema. Roger Clark and Stuart won the RAC that year. Jan drove the Ford extra entry in the RAC that year after his original car was passed on to Bjorn Waldegard who had decided to leave Lancia for Ford in 77. Bob Hardy and I having finished 3rd in the 76 Total and winning tickets to London hired a Chrysler Avenger from Andy Dawson for the RAC. Neither we nor Jan finished. Hard to believe this all happened over 30 years ago! Spotti Woodhead


2008 Provisional IRC Rally Calendar Revealed

The 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge provisional calendar has been revealed, featuring 10 events on three continents. The 2008 series will start with the Safari Rally in March and it will end with the China Rally in November, comprising six events on asphalt and four on gravel. The newcomers to the series next year will be the Rally Portugal and the Principe de Asturias Rally in Spain. After a successful inaugural season in 2007, resulting in Enrique Garcia Ojeda and Peugeot being crowned drivers’ and manufacturers’ champions respectively, the IRC has expanded its reach in 2008. The total of six registered manufacturers so far is expected to increase next year, with new prizes to reward two-wheel drive competitors – further details of which will be released soon. Next year’s IRC will benefit from an enhanced television package from Eurosport – Europe’s biggest television channel – which will provide up to eight hours of coverage from every event and the series website,, will also be expanded. Jacques Behar, the President of IRC series promoter Eurosport Events, commented: “We’ve been delighted with the growth of the IRC in its first season and now we have a very solid foundation upon which to build in 2008. We have carefully chosen the events on next year’s calendar to provide the perfect combination of surfaces, weather conditions, cultures, and marketing opportunities. We feel very confident of taking another step forwards next year, thanks to the valued ongoing support of our drivers, teams, manufacturers and partners.” The 2007 IRC Champions will be presented with their trophies at the official IRC prize-giving ceremony, which will take place in Paris on Wednesday December 5. 2008 PROVISIONAL IRC CALENDAR: • 21-23 March Kenya Safari Rally • 09-10 May Portugal Rally Portugal • 27-28 June Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally • 11-12 July Russia Rally Russia • 01-02 August Portugal Rally Vinho di Madeira • 22-23 August Czech Rep. Barum Rally Zlin • 12-13 September Spain Principe de Asturias Rally • 25 -27 September Italy Rally Sanremo • 24-25 October Switzerland Rally du Valais • 07-09 November China Rally China

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Markko Martin To Make One-Off Appearance In WRC Car


Ex-Subaru World Rally Team driver Markko Martin will make a sensational one-off competitive appearance in a works-prepared Impreza World Rally Car at this month’s Bettega Memorial Rallysprint. The 32-year-old Estonian, who drove for the Subaru World Rally Team in 2001, will drive the latest evolution of the car, the WRC2007, on the Italian event which takes place on December 15th and 16th Equipped with the latest Subaru machinery, Martin will compete head-to-head with a host of full time WRC drivers, top privateers and stars from other forms of motorsport. “The organisers of the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint invited Markko and the team to come together for this special occasion and we were happy to help,” said Subaru World Rally Team managing director Richard Taylor. The knockout contest takes place in a mixed-surface arena that resembles a WRC superspecial stage and includes one heat run in the dark on Saturday night. It is one of the most popular motorsport events to take place at the Bologna Motor Show and honours the memory of the late Attilio Bettega, a star of the world rally scene in the 1970s and early 1980s. Martin is the latest special guest to be invited to drive a works specification Impreza at the Bettega event. In 2004 Colin McRae was reunited with the model that took him to the 1995 World Rally Championship, while in 2005 MotoGP star Valentino Rossi thrilled his home crowd when he drove an Impreza WRC2005. - NEWS SUPPLIED.

Micheal Park Trophy

On September 18th 2005, Michael PARK (“Beef”) was killed in a tragic accident during the Wales Rally GB in a car driven by his long term partner Markko Märtin. Michael is much missed by the entire WRC Community. A group of friends and colleagues inspired by Vince Laverne decided to perpetuate his memory by creating the Michael Park “Beef” Trophy. The trophy is a bronze bust which has been created by the French artist François Chevalier and has been donated to the family of Michael. Each season a smaller trophy will be awarded to a WRC co-driver who has best achieved the overall qualities associated with Michael during his career with consideration taken into account of actual results, attitude, commitment and any specific action or achievements. The decision will be made by a jury selected from the WRC community. In 2006 the inaugural trophy was presented to Daniel Elena. .

For 2007 the jury comprised: · Guy Frequelin · Robert Reid · Fred Gallagher · Guido Rancati We are pleased to announce that in 2007 Timo Rautiainen has been chosen as the second winner of the Michael Park “Beef” Trophy. His achievements include the following; · Loyal co-driver to Marcus Grönholm throughout their WRC careers. · World Rally Champion for co-drivers in 2000, 2002 and potentially in 2007. · 5 WRC victories in 2007 season to date. · Competing in his last World Rally this weekend in Wales before retirement. · Highly committed and dedicated professional co-driver who was greatly respected and liked by Michael, his team mate in the 2005 season. The trophy was presented to Timo by Daniel Elena prior to the start ceremony of Wales Rally GB in Cardiff last night.

Ford Wins 2007 WRC Manufacturers’ Title Ford has won its second consecutive world title by securing the manufacturers’ crown in the FIA World Rally Championship with the Focus RS World Rally Car 07. John Fleming, President and CEO of Ford of Europe, emphasised the team achievement and what the title meant to Ford. “We’re delighted with this result. Winning the world championship in 2006 with a new car was a superb achievement, but to defend that title successfully this year and secure the championship with one event remaining is outstanding and raises our accomplishments to new heights. Ford takes great pride in the success of the car and the team and I would like to thank every member of the BPFord World Rally Team for their dedication this year. They can once again proudly state that they are the best in the world.” The 2007 title further enhances the hugely successful partnership between Ford of Europe and M-Sport, which has operated the Blue Oval’s WRC programme under Malcolm Wilson since its inception in 1997.


2007 British Rally Championship Winners!

The classes and categories of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship have all been settled on the final two scoring rounds of Wales Rally GB. The fierce battle at the front was, of course won by Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh after Mark Higgins title defence was thwarted by punctures and gearbox dramas. Wilks also inevitably took victory in Rally 4, the category for turbocharged cars. The win means that it is Mitsubishi Motors UK that takes the Teams’ Championship from Stobart TEG Sport with and Dealer Team Suzuki next. “The team had one objective at the start of the season,” said team boss Paul Brigden, “Guy, Gwyndaf, Phil, Huw and their crews have delivered – fantastic!” In Rally 3 the battle was down to the wire between Stefan Davis and Darren Gass, both in Super 1600 front wheel drive cars. The calculators were out after the first round on Friday when Davis had major problems with the starter motor and electrics on his Puma. Gass had problems too with a broken engine mount, but the young Northern Irish driver came out on top with 20 points. Even this result meant Davis merely had to finish round seven without resorting to Super Rally. He coaxed the car through Saturday and Sundays first pair of stages before problems on the penultimate stage put him OTL (over time limit). “This has been the worst rally of my life,” said the dejected Davis at Rally HQ. Meanwhile his retirement was more than enough to hand the Rally 3 title to a delighted Gass and co-driver Neil Shanks, Gass also pipping James Wozencroft to the prestigious title of MSA Junior Rally Champion. “The car was falling apart around me,” said Gass, “It has been a very hard rally but it’s great to win two titles.” Rally 2 was perhaps even more hotly contested with five drivers in with a chance before Rally GB. Leader Lorna Smith’s hopes were dashed when a rock holed the fuel tank, while her Suzuki team mate raged a fierce battle with Matt Beebe in his MG. While Smith had the consolation of the MSA British Ladies’ Championship title, the round six spoils went to Beebe; Wozencroft annoyed by time loss when he stopped to check another driver was OK. Despite this it was enough to propel “Woz” to the head of the points table and after Beebe’s gearbox cried enough, it seemed that he just needed to finish to secure the title. Beebe re-started using Super Rally rules, so keeping his time penalties to a minimum, but when he stopped again with alternator failure, the Suzuki team’s prospects seemed assured. Unfortunately Wozencroft also stopped on the penultimate stage when his suspension ball joint broke in the rough conditions. The consequent time difference meant the maximum points went to Beebe who takes Rally 2 by just a single point from a gutted Wozencroft. His only consolation was that the result was enough to make Chris Ridge the Rally 2 champion co-driver. “I can’t believe it,” beamed Beebe, “I feel sorry for James of course, but the team has worked so hard for this on a tiny budget that I’ll take the victory any way I can.” Beebe’s hard-charging approach also secured him the final Pirelli Star Driver nomination that will pit him (and four others) against Wozencroft in a shoot-out to win a funded drive in the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship. With Rally 1 already secured by Steve and Tony Graham, they switched to a Diesel Astra to vie for the Diesel Cup with Fin McCaul. The friendly rivalry even extended to McCaul recovering Graham after they both crashed in Yorkshire. The title, however, went to Fin McCaul despite retiring with complete engine oil loss in his BMW. Graham had done his best to capitalise but he too failed to reach the finish with oil loss, his from the gearbox. Brother Tony Graham was consoled with the co-driver’s title in both Diesels and Privateers Cup. “We knew it would be a difficult season learning the car,” explained McCaul, “So to win the Diesels in the first season is fantastic.” The amiable English domiciled Irishman also takes the Privateers Cup from Fin Vesa Mikkola. Martin Laverty & Andrew Roughead sealed the inaugural Citroën C2R2 Cup with a consistent approach, taking the title from season-long leader Jason Pritchard. His rally was punctuated by mechanical problems, dropping him behind Martin Roberts who took second. The final BRC category settled on Wales Rally GB was the Nations Cup, appropriately led by Wales going into the final two rounds. However by the finish back in Cardiff, England had come back, the winning margin just one point. With all the titles and categories settled (albeit provisional for a week) the only thing left for the 2007 season is to hand out the silverware. The “BRC Bash”, as it has become known, takes place on Friday 11th January at the Renaissance Hotel in Solihull.

Loeb Equals Makinen Record

With third overall place at the Wales Rally GB Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) crowned himself World Champion for the fourth consecutive time. Thereby the Frenchman equals Tommi Mäkinen’s (Fin) record who had achieved this feat from 1996 to 1999. The victory at the last run to the FIA World Rally Championship 2007 went to Mikko Hirvonen (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) who celebrated his fourth overall win. Teammate and countryman Marcus Grönholm ended his career with second place. Even though he missed the WRC-title by four points the Finn counts as one of the greatest rally-aces of all times, having won 30 runs and two WRC-titles in 2000 and 2002.

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61 Trump Street West Selby, Johannesburg, 2001 S 26* 12. 824, E 028* 01.986

Stilo - Handmade Italian Masterpieces! In professional motorsport there cannot be any compromises. With the costs of competition becoming more expensive and getting evermore competitive the slightest advantage can be worth a fortune. The reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb found performance advantages with his new Citroen car and Michelin tyres, but he also found a performance advantage with Stilo helmets and equipment. He found the sound reproduction was far superior than any other brand on the market, as well as more comfortable to wear, all advantages that gave him an edge and made a difference. As competitors, and, as we are in life we tend to stick with what we know and have used for years, but when it comes to your next crash helmet you should think twice and take a serious look at Stilo. Why should you consider Stilo helmets? Well they are all handmade in Italy from a meticulous design, all thought out by company director Ludovico Fassitelli. As an ex Italian rally champion he was frustrated at the range of helmets and the quality of their communications at this time and decided to design his own equipment and then to start up his own company. Stilo was born and now build some of the best quality motor sports helmets you can buy.

After a number of years and test and development programmes he came up with a radical design and far superior internal communication electronics, which have been praised by all that have purchased, and used this up and coming brand. Incredible attention to detail was high on Ludovico’s agenda when he started and features in exactly the same way today. With his understanding of professional motor sports Ludovico left no stone unturned. Indeed Sebastien Loeb said “Stilo invested more time and effort into testing and developing with him and his Citroen team than any other manufacturer which is why their helmet is so much better than anything else”. He went on to say : “The sound in the helmet is extremely important as the rally car is so loud, and it is imperative to have very good noise cancelling, to clearly understand the co driver reading the vital pacenotes, at the speed we are travelling a missed heard pacenote could so easily spell disaster”. Sebastien uses the radical looking WRC open faced helmet and also the full face SR3 model. We asked him why : “Both the

61 Trump Street West Selby, Johannesburg, 2001 S 26* 12. 824, E 028* 01.986 Tel +27 11 634 7600 Fax +27 11 493 3137

Tel +27 11 634 7600 Fax +27 11 493 3137

61 Trump Street West Selby, Johannesburg, 2001 S 26* 12. 824, E 028* 01.986

helmets have the same electronics which is really important, but I use the WRC helmet on the slower and hotter events and then switch to the SR3 on the faster and more dangerous rallies as it gives more protection, should I ever need it”. Reliability has been Citroen’s main advantage in winning so many championships and rallies, we asked Sebastien whether any of his Stilo helmets have ever let him down: “I have had not one single problem during a special stage.” As well as very comfortable all the above benefits has meant that Sebastien will not wear anything else and he has just signed another long term contract with the Italian company. Drivers needs are important, but so are the co-drivers. We asked Daniel Elena what advantages he had in wearing his Stilo helmet: “There are a number advantages and the first of which is the fixed boom on his Carbon Piuma helmet, with other brands the microphone boom was continually coming loose and moving away from my mouth, but the fixed boom on the Stilo has completely cured this problem”. “The electronics were also far superior as I can hear and Sebastien can hear me far better than ever before making it so much easier in the car”. You use Stilo’s own HANS connecting SEA system, what advantages do you find with this?: “The SEA straps coming out of the

helmet and connecting directly into the helmet has meant that the helmet is permanently connected to the HANS device, and unlike the standard HANS clips which I have had detach from the helmet before will never happen giving me better security”. “It is also much lighter to wear this way and has got rid of the metallic rattle off the metallic HANS posts and connecting clips”. Has the fixed boom in your helmet restricted the vision?: “Not at all and I have never had a problem with this, fixed boom is real advantage, no more booms coming loose and moving around during a stage”. Having spoken with these top competitors it was clear to see there enthusiasm for the Stilo products and as time goes by it is becoming clear that the Stilo product is becoming more and more popular. Stilo sales Director – Elena Perini said – “Stilo’s 2007 sales have grown dramatically with sales up by 50% worldwide which is fantastic. We have a good product and people are realising the advantages our helmets and intercoms offer them over our competitor’s brands”. She went on to say – “We have a great product; we do not accept second best and neither should all drivers and co-drivers. This is why we are now seeing such great sales”. Stilo – Hear and feel the difference.

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Sebastien Loeb Wins Again!


All Images: Finishing the 2007 Wales Rally GB in third place sufficed for Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena to secure their fourth straight Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ titles in the World Rally Championship in Cardiff. At the wheel of Citroën Total’s other Citroën C4 WRC, Dani Sordo/Marc Martí completed the final round of the 2007 championship in fifth place. “With the final, decisive round of the championship taking place in Wales, we just knew the weather conditions wouldn’t be easy… and they weren’t,” smiled Guy Fréquelin whose face expressed a blend of relief, joy and pride. “Sébastien and Daniel tackled today’s stages in the same way they approached all the others and met their objective to the latter. As a result, they are the World Champions with Citroën for the fourth year in a row! True, the cards were stacked in our favour before the start but it was impossible to feel totally serene. There was so much that could happen. The team found me more anxious than ever, which shows just how much I feared this weekend’s event! This title fills me with immense joy. It’s a fitting reward not only for the talent of Sébastien and Daniel but also for the amazing motivation that spurred everyone on at Citroën Sport throughout this year’s campaign. Returning to the competitive arena after a year’s away to win the Drivers’ title with the brand new Citroën C4 WRC is extremely satisfying.”

“Its just fantastic! Finishing third today after such a frustrating rally means we are the World Champions for the third year running,” beamed Sébastien, visibly delighted as he stepped off the podium. “The challenge we faced before the start was not as simple as all that. We have been fighting to make it back to the top of the championship ever since the day we went off in Sardinia but we always believed we would succeed. The combination of the Citroën C4’s potential on all the different types of surface that make up the championship and the excellent work put in by everyone at Citroën Sport kept us in the chase and it’s really great to have pulled it off today! Of my four titles, this was without doubt the most hotly contested. To have succeeded after such a fierce fight with Marcus Grönholm on stages across the world gives it a very special flavour. I know Marcus would have liked to have ended his retirement year by taking the crown, but I’m only half sorry he didn’t! On the other hand, I am glad to have clinched the title on Guy Fréquelin’s last rally as the boss of Citroën Sport.” Dani Sordo and Marc Martí completed the punishing event in fifth place but their first thoughts after the finish were to congratulate their team-mates on their title and also everyone in the team for the hard work they have put in since the beginning of the year. “I am so happy for Seb and Daniel,” confessed Dani. “I am happy and proud to have been shared this season alongside the new World Champions. I couldn’t have wished for better teachers or team-mates!” Gilles Michel, Executive Vice President of Automobiles Citroën, was in Wales to congratulate the entire team: “By winning the world title, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena mirror what Citroën wishes to say about itself, that is to say a combination of genuine talent, remarkable commitment and simplicity. The team they form and the way they set about securing their fourth title does honour to the Citroën brand.”

Final leaderboard on 75th Wales Rally GB: 1. M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford Focus) 3 h 22 min 50,9 s 2. M. Grönholm/T. Rautiainen (Ford Focus) + 15,2 s 3. S. Loeb/D. Elena (Citroën C4) + 1 min 33 s 4. P. Solberg/P. Mills (Subaru Impreza) + 2 min 57,3 s 5. D. Sordo/M. Martí (Citroën C4) + 3 min 14,3 s 6. M. Wilson/M. Orr (Ford Focus) + 7 min 32,9 s 7. C. Atkinson/S. Prévot (Subaru Impreza) + 8 min 29,5 s 8. M. Stohl/I. Minor (Citroën Xsara) + 8 min 54,6 s 9. X. Pons/X. Amigo (Subaru Impreza) + 9 min 48,8 s 10. JM. Latvala/M. Anttila (Ford Focus) + 10 min 42,4 s FIA Constructors’ Championship Points: 1. Ford, 212 points – 2. Citroën Total, 183 pts – 3. Subaru, 87 pts – 3. Stobart, 81 pts – 5. OMV Kronos Citroën, 45 pts – 6. Munchis, 14 pts. FIA World rally Championship’s rankings ‘Drivers’: 1. S. Loeb, 116 points – 2. M. Grönholm, 112 points – 3. M. Hirvonen, 99 pts – 4. D. Sordo, 65 pts – 5. P. Solberg, 47 pts – 6. H. Solberg, 34 pts – 7. C. Atkinson, 31 pts – 8. JM. Latvala, 30 pts – 9. M. Stohl, 13 pts – 10. F. Duval, 12 pts – 11. M. Wilson, 11 pts – 12. T. Gardemeister, 10 pts – 13. J. Kopecky, 10 pts – 14. D. Carlsson, 9 pts – 15. G. Galli, 5 pts.