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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Sunday, 27 January 2008

Loeb begins title quest with win

Sebastien Loeb on the Monaco waterfront on his way to winning the Monte Carlo rally for a record fifth time
Loeb dominated the event from day one and cruised to a record fifth win

Sebastien Loeb got his quest for an unprecedented fifth world title off to the perfect start by winning the season's opening rally in Monte Carlo.

The Citroen driver led from the timed stages on Thursday and maintained his grip over Sunday's final five stages.

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen finished second overall, two minutes 34 seconds back, while Subaru's Chris Atkinson won a battle with Francois Duval for third.

Loeb's triumph also saw him claim a record fifth Monte Carlo title.

The Frenchman is now the most successful driver in the event, which was first run in 1911.

"It's been a great weekend for us to win here. It's my fifth victory too, so it's a great moment," said Loeb.

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"For sure it's a great weekend for us to win here again. It's a big, big victory.

"We had a very good lead, we were faster than everybody on the whole rally.

"It's the home rally for my co-driver Daniel Elena, and a mystical rally for the championship, so a good win."

Loeb's team-mate Dani Sordo had been in second overall on Saturday before he was forced to retire with an engine problem, leaving the way open for Hirvonen to take the runner-up spot.


Monte Carlo Rally - final standings:

1. Sebastien Loeb (Fra) Citroen 3hr 39min 17.0sec
2. Mikko Hirvonen (Fin) Ford Focus + 2min 34.4sec behind
3. Chris Atkinson (Aus) Subaru Impreza + 2:58.6
4. Francois Duval (Bel) Ford Focus + 2:59.7
5. Petter Solberg (Nor) Subaru Impreza + 4:40.9
6. Gigi Galli (Ita) Ford Focus + 8:46.5
7. Jean-Marie Cuoq (Fra) Peugeot 307 WRC + 10:24.8
8. Per-Gunnar Andersson (Swe) Suzuki SX4 + 11:19.5
9. Henning Solberg (Nor) Ford Focus + 12:43.6
10. Matthew Wilson (GB) Ford Focus + 14:00.1



see also
Loeb maintains Monte Carlo lead
26 Jan 08 |  Rallying
Loeb extends lead in Monte Carlo
25 Jan 08 |  Rallying
Loeb powers into Monte Carlo lead
24 Jan 08 |  Rallying


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