Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have been honoured at the FIA Gala Prize Giving Ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, tonight.
Frenchman Loeb (left) and Monegasque Elena (centre) made it nine FIA World Rally Championship titles in succession this season on the back of nine wins, including five in a row on board their Citroen DS3 WRC.
With Loeb and Elena announcing plans to contest four events only in 2013, their WRC title triumph this year could well be their last, as Loeb conceded.
“I feel big emotion because it’s the end of a beautiful story,” said the 38-year-old. “Daniel and I had amazing and fantastic years with our team, we won rallies and championships and have had incredible moments. It’s never easy to take the decision to stop and I feel moved because it’s the end of an era. But we have fresh challenges with Citroen now and I can’t wait to start this new adventure and try to win again with them. This trophy is for all the members of the Citroen Racing team because they have also made the story.”
“For my first year as team director I couldn’t expect this kind of success,” said Belgian Matton. “We won the manufacturers’ title, the drivers’ and co-drivers’ title with Sebastien and Daniel, and Mikko and Jarmo are vice-world champions. I’m really satisfied with the work of the whole team, but also really proud because of the strong competition in the championship. The aim will be the same next year and we will do our best to try to win again.”
The various WRC support championship winners were also recognised: Craig Breen, from Ireland, and Sweden’s Emil Axelsson were honoured with the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship driver and co-driver awards; Benito Guerra, from Mexico and Spain’s Borja Rozada were crowned FIA Production Car world champion driver and co-driver, while Elfyn Evans (United Kingdom) and Candido Carrera (Spain) were recognised as the WRC Academy Cup champion driver and co-driver.