Citroen driver, Sébastien Loeb, sealed his place in history this weekend, by becoming the first man ever to win five World Rally Championship events in succession. The Frenchman added the Acropolis Rally in Greece to victories in Turkey, Cyprus, Italy and New Zealand.
Notoriously tough, the Acropolis Rally combines car-breaking terrain with cockpit temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius, yet Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena, kept their cool and piloted the awesome Citroen Xsara WRC to victory a full 1 min 36.2 secs ahead of Toni Gardemiester.
Joining Loeb on the podium was Citroen teammate, Carlos Sainz, whose measured performance once again showed that the ‘El Matador’ hasn’t lost any of his tricks. The Spaniard, however, intends to resume his retirement after his two-event return to Citroen.
Loeb dominated the Greek dust bowl, clinching victory on 12 of the 19 stages, with eight coming on Saturday alone. It was his sixth victory of the campaign.
Commenting on his place in the record books, Loeb enthused: "Five wins in a row? It hasn't really sunk in yet. All I know for the moment is that thanks to the team's efforts to give us perfect cars and also thanks to Michelin, this rally has been extremely positive in view of both title chases… We know we're not invincible and this winning run will come to an end one day but, if we want to extend it, we cannot afford to relax and next week we will be back out testing…"
Defending WRC Champion, Loeb, 31, now has a comfortable 23-point lead in the drivers’ title ahead of Petter Solberg. At the same time, the win helped Citroen leapfrog Peugeot to the top of the manufacturers’ table with a five-point margin.
Guy Frequelin, head of the Citroen WRC Team, said: "Our current sequence of wins and our return to the top of the Manufacturers' points table are down to the talent of our crews, Seb and Daniel and Carlos and Marc, but also to the untiring work of Citroen Sport and its partners, notably Michelin. I am also very happy with the top-ten finish of Xavier Pons and the times set by Manfred Stohl with their privately-entered, Kronos-run Xsaras. They illustrate the speed and reliability of the products Citroen gives its customers."Published 27 June 2005