Loeb Makes Progress in Japan

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb took a step towards clinching his second straight world title by winning stage seven of the Rally of Japan on Friday

Loeb Makes Progress in Japan

The Frenchman won the stage by 11.5 seconds from Subaru's Petter Solberg, his nearest championship rival, to move into second place overall 16.7 seconds behind the Norwegian with two stages remaining of Friday's first leg.

Loeb, who only needs a podium finish in Japan to secure the world title, finished the stage 4.7 seconds ahead of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm in third.

Subaru's Australian driver Chris Atkinson, who briefly led the rally early on, dropped to fourth.

Loeb, who has won a record eight out of 12 races this year, has 99 points in the drivers' championship with Solberg on 65 and Finn Gronholm on 61.

Loeb's title run-in has been overshadowed by the death of Briton Michael Park, a co-driver for Peugeot's Markko Martin, at last weekend's Rally of Britain.

Park died when their Peugeot skidded off the road at high speed and crashed into a tree during the 15th stage of the race.

The final stages of the race were cancelled and race leader Loeb took deliberate time penalties to ensure he did not win the title in such circumstances.

Standings after SS7:

Pos  Driver         Make        Time   
 1.  Solberg        Subaru      1:19:21.7
 2.  Loeb           Citroen     +    16.7
 3.  Gronholm       Peugeot     +    21.4
 4.  Atkinson       Subaru      +    47.6
 5.  Rovanpera      Mitsubishi  +  1:28.5
 6.  Galli          Mitsubishi  +  1:33.8
 7.  Duval          Citroen     +  1:45.8
 8.  Kresta         Ford        +  2:21.0
 9.  Carlsson       Peugeot     +  2:22.9
10.  Gardemeister   Ford        +  2:23.1
11.  Sola           Ford        +  3:16.2
12.  Warmbold       Ford        +  4:21.2
13.  Schwarz        Skoda       +  4:42.6
14.  Panizzi        Mitsubishi  +  5:47.3
15.  Crocker        Subaru      +  8:16.6
16.  Nutahara       Mitsubishi  +  8:22.0
17.  Arai           Subaru      +  9:07.5
18.  Kamada         Subaru      +  9:09.5
19.  Teiskonen      Subaru      +  9:32.1
20.  Pozzo          Subaru      +  9:52.4

All Timing Unofficial

shares
comments
Preview: Loeb Looks to Finish Job
Previous article

Preview: Loeb Looks to Finish Job

Next article

Solberg Finishes Day One on Top

Solberg Finishes Day One on Top
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
13 h
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022