Citroen superstar Sebastien Loeb has secured an astonishing ninth World Rally Crown after holding on to a narrow win in the Rally de France Alsace.
The French maestro and co-driver Daniel Elena finished the rally 15.5secs ahead of the second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala and Miika Anttila’s Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car.
The morning loop consisting of three special stages was wet with mud with damp sections causing a headache for the field.
Hirvonen, in the second factory Citroen drove cautiously throughout the day mindful that he was the only driver capable of stopping Loeb from clinching the WRC crown.
Citroen claimed third place with Mikko Hirvonen.
“It’s incredible,” Loeb said.
“It’s not possible to get better than this, it was a dream all weekend in front of all these fans. We couldn’t believe the atmosphere two years ago, it was amazing then and it’s amazing now.”
Latvala won six speed tests and has claimed the result his best on tarmac.
“I made one small mistake yesterday and when you’re trying to beat a nine-time world champion on his favourite surface over his home roads that’s one error too many,” Latvala admitted.
Australian Chris Atkinson finished eighth in the WRC Team Portugal MINI.