LOEB AND SOLBERG STAR ON RALLY OUTING
FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg starred on their return to the World Rally Championship last weekend at Rally Spain.
Nine-time WRC Champion Loeb swapped his Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar for a Citroen C3 and won the event, his 79th career WRC victory. 2003 WRC Champion and two-time World RX Champion Solberg finished on the podium in the WRC2 category on the debut on Volkswagen’s Polo R5 rally car.
Driving for the Citroen team, Team Peugeot Total’s Loeb stalled his car on the first stage of the rally but climbed back to third by Saturday night, then took the lead with a clever tyre choice on Sunday morning before winning the rally. It was Loeb’s second podium in Catalunya this year, after he finished second in World RX Round 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. "It was an almighty scrap, right to the bitter end. When I saw that I had won on the display at the end of the final stage, it was a truly incredible feeling! It's really nice to have managed to be on the pace again after all these years, because the guys haven't stood still whilst I've been away and they really pushed hard every inch of the way. I couldn't afford to drag my heels in getting my bearings back on the gravel on Friday, or on the wet tarmac yesterday either,” said Loeb. “We were quick this morning after making the right call on tyres and then we held on, despite a minor error on the penultimate stage. I’m delighted to secure what is a richly-deserved result for the team."
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Solberg made his first WRC start for six years on the first ever rally for Volkswagen’s new rally car and battled hard to finish on the podium. “It was not an easy task with just two days of testing and totally new pace notes. Which is why I am very proud of what Veronica (Engan) and I achieved here. A podium result on the debut – things couldn’t have gone much better,” said Solberg. “We avoided all risks at the rally, always looked for a clean line. With a little bit more of an attack, no doubt we could have come away with more. But the most important thing is that I had an incredible amount of fun in the car, and when you finish on the podium with champagne, you start to mull things over. A quick word about Sebastien Loeb to finish: It was simply fantastic what he did here. Congratulations on his exceptional win.”
Both drivers will now return to their regular rallycross Supercars for the final round of World RX at Cape Town in South Africa in four weeks.
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