Loeb wins Catalunya Rally

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/m/motorsportsgen.jpg' class='caption'> Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb won his third successive Catalunya Rally on Sunday.

Updated: October 10, 2007 09:48 IST
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As the sun arose for the start of day three of the Catalunya Rally Catalunya, the Citroens of Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo held a stranglehold on the top two positions.

Loeb led at the beginning of Sunday by 12.9 seconds from Sordo - with Marcus Gronholm lurking in third place.

The Finn had a ten point lead in the WRC (World Rally Championship) standings at the start of the event, but has been under pressure all weekend. Now, it was a question of damage limitation.

His Ford team-mate and compatriot Mikko Hirvonen - third in the overall standings - occupied fourth place, one minute 10.7 seconds behind Loeb. Another Citroen, in the shape of Francois Duval, lay in fifth.

With this being a tarmac event, the cars received less punishment than normal - and Loeb enjoyed a big advantage.

It's his surface of choice and it showed as he powered to his sixth victory of the season.
By contrast, Gronholm took on extra tuition on asphalt from a circuit racing coach in midweek. He was certainly quick here and won two of Sunday's four stages, while sharing another with Loeb.

But the 50.6 seconds deficit from day one proved crucial and Loeb took the title for the third year running in an overall time of three hours, 22 minutes and 50.5 seconds.

Sordo was 13.8 seconds adrift in second place with Gronholm third. Next up - the Tour of Corsica - and more tarmac.

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