Five-time world champion Sebastien Loeb sealed his 51st victory by dominating the Rally of Portugal. He finished ahead of Finland's Mikko Hirvonen's Ford to extend his lead by 10 points.
AFP - Reigning five-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of France made it four wins in four races this season when he won the Rally of Portugal on Sunday, his 51st career victory.
Loeb, driving a Citroen C4, finished ahead of Finland's Mikko Hirvonen in a Ford Focus, with Spaniard Dani Sordo third in his Citroen.
It was Loeb's second win in Portugal, following his 2007 success, and marks his fifth consecutive race victory after triumphing in Great Britain at the end of 2008 and then winning in Ireland, Norway and Cyprus at the start of this season.
"We really enjoyed ourselves this week, in stages that were technical and difficult in front of a good crowd," said Loeb after equalling his countryman Alain Prost's mark of 51 victories in Formula One.
His comments drew warm applause from the 15,000-strong crowd in the Estadio Algarve that had turned out to watch the five-time champion in bright sunshine.
By the start of the race's 18th and final stage, a 2km tarmac track in a stadium constructed for the Euro 2004 football tournament, Loeb had assembled an insurmountable 24-second lead over Hirvonen, who recorded the quickest times in stages 16 and 17.
Loeb began the day by winning stages 14 and 15, having won the last seven stages on Saturday, thereby making sure of his victory.
Norway's Petter Solberg won the race's last stage in his Citroen Xsara to secure fourth place.
Date created : 2009-04-05