Sebastien Loeb takes out Rally NZ
Sebastien Loeb has won his third Brother Rally New Zealand after a fine drive in his Citroen DS3 WRC.
Loeb eased away from Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen on the final day after a back and forwards battle over the first two days.
It’s Loeb’s fifth win of the season and 72nd of his outstanding career.
“It’s been a long weekend and my driving has not been perfect,” said Loeb.
“We made a few mistakes in the closing Power Stage when we were pushing too hard but the most important thing is that we have won. It was an exciting battle with Mikko [Hirvonen] yesterday but it’s good to leave here with a victory.”
Petter Solberg claimed third for Ford after battling past Evgeny Novikov on the second leg. The Norwegian lost any hope of victory on the opening day when his choice of hard tyres was negated when the heavens opened.
Fourth place went to the Russian with Thierry Neuville showing his talent to finish fifth on debut in New Zealand.
That place should have been Ott Tanak’s, but the Estonian rolled his Ford just two stages from the finish.
Dani Sordo brought his MINI home in sixth ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who did score the bonus points for winning the final power stage of the rally. Latvala’s hoped of victory ended against a wire fence on the opening day when he spun trying to hunt down the Citroen duo at the front.
Local hero Hayden Paddon easily won the Super 2000 World Rally Championship in a Skoda Fabia S2000, while Marcos Ligato took the Production World Rally Championship disvision.
The next round of the World Rally Championship is the famous Rally Finland on 2-4 August.
Rally New Zealand : FINAL RESULTS
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen DS3 WRC||4:04:51.2|
|2||Mikko Hirvonen||Citroen DS3 WRC||+0:29.6|
|3||Petter Solberg||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+1:36.4|
|4||Evgeny Novikov||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2:13.6|
|5||Thierry Neuville||Citroen DS3 WRC||+2:42.4|
|6||Dani Sordo||Mini John Cooper Works||+3:03.1|
|7||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+4:52.9|
|8||Armindo Araujo||Mini John Cooper Works||+9:36.4|
|9||Ken Block||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+10:30.3|
|10||Manfed Stohl||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+11:26.3|
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen DS3 WRC||145 pts|
|2||Mikko Hirvonen||Citroen DS3 WRC||107 pts|
|3||Petter Solberg||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||90 pts|
|4||Madds Ostberg||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||80 pts|
|5||Evgeny Novikov||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||55 pts|
|6||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||54 pts|
|1||Citroen Total WRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||237 pts|
|2||Ford WRT||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||144 pts|
|3||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||103 pts|
|4||Qatar WRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||47 pts|
|5||Citroen Junior WRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||42 pts|
|6||Adapta WRT||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||27 pts|