Sebastien Loeb has made it seven wins in succession on Rally Argentina to extend his lead at the top of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Co-driven by Daniel Elena, the 38-year-old Frenchman defeated Citroen Total team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in a formation finish.
Stand-in Ford driver Dani Sordo was set for the final podium spot but hit trouble on the very last run, the Power Stage Amarok Copina, with a suspected broken alternator belt on his Fiesta. The Spaniard’s misfortune handed third position to Mads Ostberg of the Adapta World Rally Team.
Loeb’s success out front was his third in the WRC this season following wins in Monte-Carlo and Mexico, and his 70th at world level. It came after the longest world championship rally in recent seasons with crews negotiating a taxing 502.73 competitive route on spectacular gravel roads around Villa Carlos Paz near Cordoba.
“Another victory here in Argentina it’s incredible for me and especially after Portugal it was important for the team to react like this,” said Loeb. “It has been a great rally here with Mikko finishing second.”
Behind the ultra-consisent Mads Ostberg, who overcame handling issues during the final day, Martin Prokop took a career-best fourth with Thierry Neuville also securing a personal best for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team. Prokop’s final placing was the best result so far in the WRC for the DMACK tyre firm.
1. Loeb-Elena (Citroen DS3 Wrc) in 5.34'38”8
2. Hirvonen-Lehtinen (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 15"2
3. Ostberg-Andersson (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 3'10"4
4. Prokop-Hruza (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 9'45"3
5. Neuville-Gilsoul (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 11'17"06
6. Ogier-Ingrassia (Skoda Fabia S2000) + 12'02"2
7. P. Solberg-Patterson (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 12'25"3
8. Novikov-Giraudet (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 21'10”2
9. Al-Attiyah-Bernacchini (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 28'22"6
10. Tanak-Sikk (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 37'19”5
1. Loeb 91 points, 2. Solberg 73, 3. Hirvonen 70, 4. Ostberg 68, 5. Novikov 43, 6. Latvala 28, 7. Al-Attiyah 23, 8. Prokop 22, 9. Sordo 21, 10. Ogier 16, etc.