Loeb pulls clear after claiming sixth triumph of season in Finland
Sebastien Loeb cemented his dominance of the World Rally Championship standings, and in the Castrol EDGE WRC Rankings, with his sixth triumph of the season in Finland.
The fight for victory boiled down to two final runs through the famous Ouninpohja stage, with Loeb leading Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen by just over nine seconds.
Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg meanwhile were close enough to profit from any serious mistakes, even if they were couldn’t quite do enough to constitute a serious threat.
In the end it came down to an internecine Citroen battle, with Loeb resisting Hirvonen’s late charge to seal his sixth win of the year, and his third in Finland.
His championship advantage over Hirvonen now stands at 43 points with five rounds to run. Solberg, the next nearest challenger, is a further 24 points adrift.
It is a similar story in the Rankings, where Loeb leads Hirvonen and Solberg by comfortable margins.
The Frenchman strengthened his hold on sixth in the Rankings, protecting his advantage of IndyCar’s Will Power while simultaneously moving to within one victory of fifth-place man Jenson Button.
Mikko Hirvonen too strengthened his grip on 14th, where he is sandwiched between Scott Dixon and Kasey Kahne.
Loeb’s position as the highest-ranked WRC driver in the Rankings appears unassailable however, given the Frenchman’s margin over his stable-mate.
His gap is even more pronounced over Ford’s pairing, with Latvala now 24th (having slipped one place following Rally Finland) and Solberg 41st.
Mads Ostberg is knocking on the door of the top quartet, a three-place rise carrying him to 43rd in the Rankings.