World Rally Championship: Citroen's Sebastien Loeb won Rally of France to clinch ninth WRC title in a row
Sebastien Loeb claimed a record ninth straight World Rally Championship title with victory at the Rally of France.
Last Updated: 07/10/12 3:56pm
Loeb's eighth win of the season also secured the constructors' title for Citroen with two rounds remaining.
The Frenchman needed only to finish ahead of his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to clinch the world title and started the final day with a 54-second lead.
He drove cautiously throughout the remaining six stages, failing to win any of them but successfully protecting his advantage through to the finish in his birthplace of Haguenau in eastern France.
Loeb's margin of victory over Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala was 15.5 seconds, with Hirvonen in third 44.1 seconds back.
"It has been a great moment," Loeb, 38, said after his 75th career WRC win which took his season's tally to 244 points, 71 clear of Hirvonen.
"We had been dreaming of it since the weekend began, it is pure happiness.
"The season has been perfect but I want to enjoy this rather than think about this title being our last together," he added, referring to co-driver Daniel Elena, who has been with him for all nine titles.
Loeb appears unlikely to make it 10 titles in row next season as he expects to race in no more than five rallies while preparing to make the transition to a new career with Citroen in World Touring Cars.