The Triple Crown for Loeb and CitroÃ«n! For the third year in a row, SÃ©bastien Loeb, his Monaco-born co-driver Daniel Elena and the CitroÃ«n Xsara have triumphed in rallying's oldest and most prestigious fixture. In addition to leading from...
The Triple Crown for Loeb and Citroën!
For the third year in a row, Sébastien Loeb, his Monaco-born co-driver Daniel Elena and the Citroën Xsara have triumphed in rallying's oldest and most prestigious fixture. In addition to leading from start to finish and claiming the highest number of stage wins, they put in a faultless run to add panache to their incontestable success, the eleventh of their career together.
Sébastien's exploit sees him join the ranks of those drivers who have forged the legend of the Monte Carlo Rally, including such celebrated names as Sandro Munari and Walter Röhrl (four wins each, including three-in-a-row), Tommi Mäkinen (four consecutive wins), Didier Auriol and Carlos Sainz (three non consecutive wins each).
"I was perhaps happier after the 2002 event because it was all so new," says Seb. "I made a name for myself that year by dominating the others until a time penalty dropped me to 2nd place. Ever since, this rally has been good to me. Each time I take the start I am as motivated as ever and I'm certainly not tired of winning. There's something special about this event: it's the most famous rally of them all and it's where my co-driver Daniel comes from. And I couldn't have got my 2005 campaign off to a better start…"
"Seb is a great guy," joked Daniel Elena with his customary Mediterranean humour. "He has taken three consecutive wins on what is practically home ground for him, in Germany, and now he's allowed me to draw level by winning in my home country!"
"I'm like Seb and Daniel; I never tire of winning," beamed Guy Fréquelin. "I am proud of our company, proud of this team and delighted to see Seb and Daniel so happy. On top of that, François Duval gave a glimpse of his promise, while Manfred Stohl finished in the points, up amongst other officially nominated drivers, in his privately-entered Xsara. And to cap it all, Citroën scored a WRC/JWRC double with Kris Meeke, Kronos and our Customer Competition team who have given the C2 Super 1600 its first win in the Junior series which also saw Daniel Sordo stage a strong come-back to 4th place."
When the Xsaras finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 2003, Colin McRae commented that the Monte Carlo is the round which, more than any other, requires a true team effort, an observation which still stands today. And indeed, in addition Sébastien and Daniel's impeccable run, the 2003 and 2004 Manufacturers' championship winning squad also enjoyed a faultless weekend.
Once the brakes of François Duval's car had been adjusted to the Belgian's demands, the Xsaras weren't slowed by the slightest problem. The team's tyre choices, perhaps a little easier this year with the rally based further south, were spot on each time. Meanwhile, the team had set itself the target of proving that the quality of its work, its motivation and its winning instinct were all still intact. Mission accomplished!