World Rally Champions Honoured at FIA Gala
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena claimed an unprecedented seventh consecutive FIA World Rally Championship title at the end of the 2010 season and the record-breaking crew were duly honoured at the annual FIA Gala in Monaco this evening. Loeb and Elena joined a host of other champions from the world of motor sport to receive their coveted trophies at the sport's most prestigious prize-giving ceremony.
The 2010 FIA World Rally Championship took the crews around the globe to 13 countries, where competition was fought out over a diverse range of snow, gravel and tarmac, many events mixing surfaces to add to the challenge. Rally Bulgaria, based in the ski resort of Borovets, was a new tarmac addition to the calendar, the Rally of Turkey took place on two different continents for the first time, and the face of Rallye de France changed completely as the event moved to Alsace. Being his home region, it was Loeb territory and the Frenchman claimed an emotional seventh world title on home soil - with two rounds remaining - in front of crowds of thousands. In total, Loeb and Elena claimed victory on eight events this season and have amassed an extraordinary 62 world rally wins together.
Sebastien Loeb said:
"Emotionally, this title compares to the first because I felt so proud and happy that it happened in Alsace in front of the French people. When I crossed the finish line in my home town at the end of the event, it was an incredible feeling.
"I am very pleased to share this title with the entire Citroen team; they have given Daniel and me a perfect car all season, allowing us to score an average of 21 points on the 13 events. I think it has been one of our most consistent years, if not the most consistent."
The Citroen Total World Rally Team also claimed the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers. Headed by Loeb - and aided by Daniel Sordo and Sebastien Ogier - the French team won nine rounds, winning the title for the third consecutive year.
Olivier Quesnel, Citroen Racing Director, said:
"I think if we look at the figures this has been our best year. I feel very proud of the team and all the drivers and co-drivers who have done a perfect job once again. Winning is hard, but staying at the top is even harder. The C4 WRC has proved to be unbeaten on tarmac and in total our car has claimed 32 victories over four seasons. We feel this is a great achievement and I hope we will be able to continue this winning streak with our new DS3 WRC."
The inaugural FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship was closely-fought and no fewer than six different drivers claimed victories in the category throughout the season. Spaniards Xavier Pons and co-driver Alex Haro, driving a Ford Fiesta S2000, took the lead in the series after winning their opening round in Mexico and led the Championship throughout the season, claiming a total of two wins from their nominated seven rounds.
In the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, the experienced Portuguese crew of Armindo Araujo and Miguel Ramalho were never outside the top three on any of their six nominated events. The crew, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, won in Mexico, Germany and France to take their second consecutive Production Car World Rally Championship title; the first time this has been achieved in over a decade.
The six-round FIA Junior World Rally Championship proved to be equally competitive with two drivers going head-to-head for the title on the final round. Aaron Nicolai Burkart and co-driver Andre Kachel ultimately triumphed in their Suzuki Swift Super 1600, the German pair claiming one victory in Turkey and finishing consistently in the top five in the category on each event during the season.
The FIA WRC Cup for Teams - an award for registered teams taking part in the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship - was won by the Red Bull Rallye Team by a single point, having scored three wins from their seven nominated events.