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Loeb wins in Monte Carlo
Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb wins the opening rally of the season.
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2007 12:37 GMT

Citroen one-two: Sebastien Loeb, front, and Dani Sordo on a leisurely drive through Monte Carlo [AFP]

Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb began his chase for a record-equaling fourth consecutive world rally title with a 38.2 second win in the season-opening race in Monte Carlo on Sunday.
Thirty-two years old Loeb beat Spanish team-mate Dani Sordo to give Citroen a one-two finish on the debut of their new C4 WRC car, ahead of Finland's Marcus Gronholm, driving a Ford, in third place.

"I like to start the season like this with 10 points," Loeb told reporters.

"The car is really fast. It was a good start to the season and hopefully we will be able to continue it like this," he added.

It was the Frenchman's 29th rally victory with navigator Daniel Elena in 83 World Rally Championship starts with the pair dominating in the mountains around the Mediterranean principality since Thursday's opening stage.

Loeb, a triple world champion, won the title in a works Citroen in 2004 and 2005 before defending it last year in a privately entered Citroen Xsara, and is looking to become the third driver with four rally crowns after Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Makinen.

Makinen is the only driver so far to win four successive world titles, from 1996-99.

Australian driver Chris Atkinson snuck into took fourth place in his Subaru with a 0.2 second advantage over Ford's Mikko Hirvonen when winning the 2.8km 15th and final stage around the streets of Monaco.

"To come out on top (of Hirvonen) is really awesome," Atkinson said.

"The guys have done an amazing job. I can't wait for the rest of the year now."

The next rally is in Sweden from February 9 to 11.

Source:
Agencies
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