A Citroen Xsara world rally car driven by the 28 year old French wonder kid, Sébastien Loeb, stormed to victory in this weekend’s Rally Deutschland, marking Loeb’s first ever win in the Championship and causing many commentators to talk of him as a future world champion, having proved his competitiveness on both tarmac and gravel.
Loeb’s Xsara led the German round of the World Rally Championship from stage 3 and his winning margin was 14 seconds from the reigning world rally champion Richard Burns.
"This is best day of my life. Many of the best rally drivers in the world never win a world rally and I have done so in my first proper year in a world rally car," exclaimed Loeb.
"It was a fantastic fight to the finish though. The last few stages were so close and I have never felt so at one with a rally car. My Citroen Xsara was fabulous. It was 100% all rally and next year, when we do the whole championship, I look forward to more wins."
Loeb dominated the rally. He won 11 of the 23 stages in all conditions and on stages which varied from super smooth to badly rutted tarmac. On Sunday alone he won three of the final seven stages in a close battle with Burns.
"Because each leg of this event is so different, I was not sure how we would do on the last day, but from the first corner of the first stage this morning, I knew I could win," he said.
It is Citroen Sport's fourth win since returning to world rallying. The team have made a significant impact on the sport in their build up to full world championship entry next season.
Citroen Sport Director Guy Fréquelin said: "I'm very happy to win this rally and very happy for the team. They have worked very hard this season. I think Sébastien has the potential to be world champion."Published 25 August 2002