Loeb wins Rally Ireland

Seb survived a hairy penultimate stage - where he slid for 60 metres to lead his team mate to a Citroen 1-2

Sebastien Loeb negotiated the final 1.5km Donegal Town stage without a hitch to take victory on the 2009 Rally Ireland this afternoon

The result was Loeb’s 48th career win and his second on the Irish round of the World Rally Championship, which he last won in 2007.

His team-mate Dani Sordo finished second, as he had done in 2007, making it an emphatic one-two result for the Citroen Total World Rally Team.

“It’s been a really tough rally but I’m very happy to take the 10 points,” said Loeb. “Tarmac rallies are especially important to me. This one has been tricky for everyone, but now we’re here at the finish with maximum points. It’s a good start to the season!”

Second place netted Dani Sordo eight points in the 2009 drivers’ championship. “It’s a really, really good result for us to start the year with,” said the Spaniard. “I’m happy for me and for the team. The conditions have been bad - we’ve had some crazy stages - but it’s been a great result!”

Mikko Hirvonen finished third in his BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team Focus RS WRC, collecting six championship points and slotting behind Sordo in the 2009 drivers’ standings.

“It’s a good start to the season,” said the Finn. “We had some problems this weekend; I was hoping I could fight with Sordo but maybe that will come another time. It’s still a good start to my season. Now I’m looking forward to the next round in Norway.”

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