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Loeb celebrates 'hardest title'

Sebastien Loeb said his fourth World Rally Championship title was his most satisfying yet, after overcoming Marcus Gronholm to take the crown in the season-ending Rally GB

The Frenchman had trailed Gronholm by 13 points in August, but fought back in the second half of the year and arrived in Britain with a six-point lead after Gronholm had crashed out of the Rally Ireland.

"It was a really big battle since the start of the season," said Loeb.

"We had to take a lot of risks and go flat-out on every rally. To win this championship is a great moment."

Loeb has now won the championship for four successive years, but all three of his previous crowns were secured with several rounds to spare. Last year he was still able to clinch the title despite sitting out the final four rallies with a broken arm.

His run of consecutive titles equals the record set by Tommi Makinen between 1996 and 1999.

"It was really a great championship this year," said Loeb.

"We had a big, big fight with Marcus all the time, and to finish with only a four-point lead is really a great moment.

"It was my best battle I think, and my nicest championship. I'm really happy - four times now equals the record of Tommi. It's great."

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