Loeb wins in enemy territory

Four-time world champion Sebastien Loeb won the Finnish Rally for the first time in his career on Sunday. He is the first non-Finn since 2003 to triumph in Finland, home of his championship rivals Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.


France's Sebastien Loeb, driving a Citroen C4, won the Rally of Finland, the ninth in the 15-race World Rally Championship series, for the first time here on Sunday.

The four-time world champion finished nine seconds ahead of Finland's Mikko Hirvonen in a Ford Focus, with Australia's Chris Atkinson finishing third three minutes off the pace in a Subaru Impreza.

Loeb, 34, had never won before in Finland and becomes just the eighth non-Finnish driver to win in 58 editions of one of the fastest races in the calendar.

The French driver lead all the way, winning 15 of the 24 specials, and holding on to his lead despite a slight scare early on Sunday morning at the start of the penultimate SS23 when his C4 spun off the track.

It is the 42nd career success for Loeb and sixth this season and moves him to within a point of championship leader Hirvonen.

The next race this season takes place in Germany on the weekend of August 15, on a track more familiar to the driver from neigbouring Alsace.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning