Loeb Takes Record-Breaking Win

Sebastien Loeb has broken the record for the number of WRC wins in a season after winning the Rally Argentina

Loeb Takes Record-Breaking Win

Loeb took it easy on the final Pro Rally Superspecial and coasted home 26.1 seconds ahead of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm.

Despite there being seven rallies left on this year's calendar, Loeb has now taken the seven victories necessary to surpass his and Didier Auriol's joint record of six wins in a season.

Auriol took six wins in 1992, and Loeb matched it last year when he won six rallies on his way to his first WRC title. It is Loeb's sixth consecutive victory, and he also now stands alone in the record books for the number of on-the-trot WRC victories, having matched Auriol's 1992 record at last month's Rally of Turkey.

The Frenchman went into the final leg 26.6 seconds ahead of Gronholm and he had pulled out a further six seconds over the Peugeot driver by lunch time.

Loeb took only one stage victory on the final leg, SS18, despite the first running of the famous El Condor stage being delayed by 20 minutes due to crowd congestion.

Loeb now has a massive 27-point lead in the Championship standings from Norwegian Petter Solberg.

None of the points-paying positions changed during the final leg. Gronholm had a steady run to second place on the final leg, despite Solberg's best efforts.

Solberg showed he hadn't given up his pursuit of the position with the fastest stage time on SS20, however, the gap was insurmountable by the time they reached the superspecial. The Subaru driver did show he is the master of such spectator stages, by winning SS22 with the fastest time of any of the four runnings of the 3.02km stage during the event.

The battle for fourth place provided the most excitement of the day. Toni Gardemeister just edged out Mitsubishi's Harri Rovanpera, who had narrowed the gap from 11.0 seconds at the end of yesterday, to just 7.0 seconds before the superspecial.

The pair showed just how hard they were pushing on SS19, the 24.45km stage of Mina Clavero-Giulio Cesar. Gardemeister and Rovanpera were more than four seconds faster than any of the rally's leading trio through that stage, with Gardemeister edging Rovanpera by 2.4 seconds. Rovanpera however, narrowed the margin by beating the Ford driver through both runnings of El Condor.

Rovanpera also beat the Finn on both runnings of the superspecial, including being fastest overall on SS21, but it was not enough to take the position. He ended just 5.6 seconds off Gardemeister, who has scored points on every rally so far this season.

Peugeot driver Marko Martin, the only other driver to score on all nine rallies, had a quiet run to sixth. He beat Francois Duval by more than a minute, who secured two manufacturer points on his return to the Citroen team after his two-rally enforced rest.

The Belgian had a bad run through SS20, which allowed the privateer Citroen of Manfred Stohl to halve the gap between them. However Duval rose to the threat, and held off Stohl.

The Championship now moves to Finland in three weeks time, where Scandinavians Gronholm and Solberg must fight back if they are to have any hope of taking this year's WRC title.

However, it is now possible for Loeb to clinch his second title at the Wales Rally GB in September - in just three rallies' time.

Rally Argentina final results - Top 20:

Pos  Driver        Make         Time
 1.  Loeb          Citroen      3h 55:36.4
 2.  Gronholm      Peugeot      +     26.1
 3.  Solberg       Subaru       +   1:05.3
 4.  Gardemeister  Ford         +   2:38.0
 5.  Rovanpera     Mitsubishi   +   2:43.6
 6.  Martin        Peugeot      +   4:22.2
 7.  Duval         Citroen      +   5:29.1
 8.  Stohl         Citroen      +   5:42.9
 9.  Atkinson      Subaru       +   5:59.2
10.  Pons          Citroen      +   8:25.1
11.  Kresta        Ford         +   8:38.2
12.  Warmbold      Ford         +   8:58.2
13.  Ligato        Peugeot      +  13:53.1
14.  Perez         Ford         +  15:11.7
15.  Carlsson      Peugeot      +  18:20.6
16.  Schwarz       Skoda        +  21:49.0
17.  Al-Attiyah    Subaru       +  26:05.2
18.  Higgins       Subaru       +  28:41.4
19.  Trivino       Peugeot      +  33:06.1
20.  Villagra      Mitsubishi   +  38:07.9
shares
comments
Loeb Set to Break Records
Previous article

Loeb Set to Break Records

Next article

Loeb: Argentina - Toughest Win

Loeb: Argentina - Toughest Win
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
15 h
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
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
Oct 6, 2022
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