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Loeb Beats the Finns on their Home Ground! - (Global)

August 4th, 2008

Sébastien Loeb has taken his Citroën C4 WRC to an historic win in Finland at the weekend (1-3 August 2008), becoming just the third driver to beat the Finns on their home ground in the legendarily difficult Rally of Finland, in the latest round of the World Rally Championship.

Following the creation of the Manufacturers' World Championship in 1973, only Carlos Sainz (1990) and Didier Auriol (1992) had succeeded in toppling the Finns on their home event prior to Loeb’s weekend win.

"I'm thrilled to have won this rally," beamed Sébastien Loeb at the finish. "I'm especially pleased with the way we won it. From start to finish, the scrap reminded me of the thrilling clashes we had last year with Marcus Grönholm. It was a very close run thing throughout and we were never able to relax. The decision to keep the lead at the end of the opening day involved a certain amount of risk because we didn't know exactly how much road-sweeping we would have to do. It meant pushing hard all the way, but the tactic finally paid off."

Loeb lead the event from beginning to end, recording 15 fastest stage times, but these figures hide just how hard the event was for the French team, including a scare on the final day when Loeb spun his Citroen. The event also saw a possible repeat of the tactics employed by Ford on a previous event where at the end of the first day, the Ford crew deliberately slowed down to hand the lead to Loeb to force him to ‘sweep the road’ and lose valuable time on day two. But it was a card Loeb was not willing to play.

"Beating the Finns in a straight fight on their home event is an indescribable experience," added Daniel Elena, Loeb’s co-Driver. "For me, it's a dream come true. The way I call out the notes here is no different to anywhere else; it's just the speed at which they need to come out that differs, plus the extraordinary sensation of feeling the car drifting with all four wheels at 200 kmh!"

The win in Finland is an excellent start for the second half of the 2008 season for Citroen.

"When you know just how tough it is to win this event, today's result is immensely satisfying," concluded Olivier Quesnel, Citroen Team Director. "Sébastien and Daniel didn't put a foot wrong and they came out on top at the end of what was an unrelenting fight. The tremendous work put in by everyone in the technical team on the C4 since last year has paid dividends. It was awesomely competitive and this is a top result for us in terms of the Manufacturers' Championship, too. The way both C4s performed is particularly encouraging for the rest of the season. Dani and Marc also put in a very mature run. A magnificent victory, some outstanding times, clockwork reliability and a big points haul. What else could we ask for?"

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