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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Sunday, 3 October 2010 14:34 UK

Sebastien Loeb wins seventh straight World Rally crown

Sebastien Loeb celebrates winning his seventh world rally title
Victory in France seals Loeb's place in motor sport history

Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb has claimed a record seventh successive World Rally Championship crown.

The 36-year-old Frenchman, made it into the record books by winning his home event, the Rally de France.

He now has three more world titles than Finnish drivers Juha Kankkunen and Tommy Makinen and a record 60 career rally wins.

Loeb said: "It's unbelievable to become world champion at home, in front of all these people."

The Frenchman was already in a league of his own after becoming the first rally driver to win five titles in a row when he surpassed retired Finnish great Tommy Makinen in 2008.

Loeb, with co-driver Daniel Elena, took the first of his 60 rally wins in Germany in 2002 after joining Citroen as French rally champion in 2001. He has stayed with the French manufacturer ever since.

He has tested a Formula 1 car and was linked to a one-off drive with Toro Rosso ahead of the last year's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mike L - BBC Sport

Having won six of the 11 rallies this season, Loeb can relax going into the final two rounds of the season in Spain starting 22 October and Great Britain, from 12 November.

Loeb clinched his seventh title in style, leading the Rally of France from start to finish, ahead of fellow Citroen drivers Dani Sordo of Spain and Norway's Petter Solberg to make it a 1-2-3 for the French marque.

Loeb won with more than half a minute to spare and was mobbed by fans at the finish line in Strasbourg, very close to his home.

"I knew I could do it but it was an extremely tough race and I had to believe right through to the finish line," he said. "I didn't think there would be so many people and that the rally would take on such a dimension."

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see also
Loeb delighted to clinch title
25 Oct 09 |  Rallying
Rally star Loeb denied F1 chance
22 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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