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Sunday, 29 January 2012

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Loeb wins Monte Carlo rally

RALLY: MONACO, Jan 28 (AFP): Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb of France in a Citroen won the Monte Carlo rally for the sixth time on Sunday to take up where he left off last season atop the World Rally Championship standings (WRC). In what was the opening leg of the 2012 WRC season, Loeb triumphed ahead of Dani Sordi of Spain (Mini) and Petter Solberg of Norway (Ford Fiesta). It was the 68th rally win of his exceptional career. The race, the 80th running of the Monte Carlo Rally, marked its return to the WRC stage after three seasons in the rival IRC camp.

Loeb has won the last eight rally world titles and is a hot favourite to make it nine in a row this year. Recently voted as the most popular sportsman in France, Loeb, who hails from Alsace in eastern France, opened the final day poised to grab overall victory having led the classic rally race from the start. And he made no mistake by winning the closing five kilometre-long power stage on the Col de la Madone, high above Monte Carlo, which accorded him three extra points points to take him to 28 points for the race.

"For sure it's always a great moment to start the season like this especially in front of so many fans," Loeb told World Rally Radio. "Full points in the first race is incredible and for sure it's the perfect start [to my title defence]. But Monte-Carlo is my rally and for the others we will have to see."

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