Rallye Deutschland: Loeb holds on

Sebastien Loeb hung on to his overnight Rally Deutschland lead to the end, but his cool measured approach to the final stage set nerves at Citroen jangling as Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm slashed the Xsara driver's lead from 13 seconds to three on the final stage

Rallye Deutschland: Loeb holds on

The Frenchman had kept in among the top times all day, but didn't win a stage. The victories went to Markko Martin (three), Colin McRae (two) and Carlos Sainz (just the one). But in the end Loeb did enough to keep Gronholm behind to score his second win of the season.

"Last year here, it was special because it was my first victory," said Loeb. "This year, it was more difficult due to the weather conditions. Challenging Marcus Gronholm was not easy at all. I will never forget the final stages when we were so close from each other."

Gronholm's final day bid for victory got off to a poor start when the Finn overshot twice on the opening stage of the morning. The second mishap damaged a wheel and Loeb looked to be away clear.

The next twist at the top though came on the third stage of the day when rain started to fall as the top contenders were on stage. Loeb got the worst of that and Marcus edged closer, before Loeb eased away again to set up that nail-biting final stage shoot-out.

Third place was also up for grabs at the start of the day with Markko Martin in the position and facing challenges from Colin McRae and Richard Burns. McRae came out of the blocks fighting with top times on the first two stages and he immediately snatched third from a slow-starting Martin.

The Estonian looked to be up for the fight on the second stage, but then his Focus hit differential trouble which gave him rear-wheel drive only for one and a half stages.

That was it for Markko's podium ambitions and he dropped to fifth place with no chance of a reprieve this time. Wins on each of the last three stages were the only consolation.

McRae's podium bid didn't last much longer. The Scot spun on the third stage of the day and he dropped behind Burns. It was close between the pair from there on, but it was championship leader Burns who ended up with the larger points haul.

Sainz took his stage win on the rain-affected SS19, sneaking through before it got really slippery. He wound up sixth overall after a protracted tit-for-tat battle for the place with Ford's Francois Duval. The squabble was effectively decided on the startline of the final stage when Duval stalled.

The Belgian held onto seventh place and the final point went to Petter Solberg, whose Subaru looked more competitive today than it had been all rally.

shares
comments
Day 3 am: Seb hangs on in the rain

Previous article

Day 3 am: Seb hangs on in the rain

Next article

Solberg fighting fit for Finland

Solberg fighting fit for Finland
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021