Loeb hails rivalry with Gronholm

Sebastien Loeb believes that the retiring Marcus Gronholm is the toughest rival he has ever had in rallying

Loeb hails rivalry with Gronholm

The Citroen driver won his fourth-consecutive World Rally Championship at Wales Rally GB on Sunday, beating Gronholm to the crown by four points.

"Marcus was my biggest rival," said Loeb. "I've never had to fight so hard from the start to the end of the season.

"It was a very nice season this year, a very hard fight every time. We were nearly the same speed everywhere, so each rally was really difficult and really exciting.

"To have succeeded after such a fierce fight with Marcus gives this a very special flavour. I know he would have liked to have ended his retirement year by taking the crown, but I'm only half sorry he didn't."

Loeb also dismissed claims that he will have an easy run to the title next year, as he believes that there are several drivers that can step up a level in 2008.

"Next year Marcus will not be with us, but ok, I'm sure some young drivers are coming now," he said.

"(Jari-Matti) Latvala, (Dani) Sordo, and (Mikko) Hirvonen are going faster and faster, so I think I will have some other rivals."

Hirvonen won last weekend's season finale, while Latvala won every stage on Saturday and Sunday, excluding the short Cardiff superspecial.

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Loeb celebrates 'hardest title'

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