But – that was enough to secure a 4th consecutive world title, snatched from retiring great Marcus Gronholm, who was hoping to end his career with a 3rd rally crown (2000, 2002).
Marcus had been in front for most of the season, with an accident in the penultimate round (Ireland) essentially costing him the championship.
He was then 6 points behind, with 10 awarded for a win – he needed to WIN, and have Sebastian finish sixth – or retire/crash.
So – would have been nervous for all – but Sebastian didn’t push too hard, and held on to finish 3rd.
The same happened last year – Marcus lost the crown to Sebastian, who was injured from a mountain-biking accident, but had enough points to see out the season – and was crowned as champion without even competing in the final round.
Sebastian Loeb now joins the true rallying genius’es – with FOUR consecutive titles, a record held only by Tommi Mäkinen (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999).
And he has a 2 week old baby girl too (Valentine) – some sleepless nights didn’t stop him !
Juha Kankunnen is the only other driver to have won four rallying crowns.
An elite bunch indeed – Sebastian Loeb also holds the record for the most number of rally victories in his career :
Sébastien Loeb 36 Marcus Grönholm 30 Carlos Sainz 26 Colin McRae 25 Tommi Mäkinen 24
Click here to see other rallying details (past champions, manufacturer’s)
No wonder they call Sebastian Loeb the “Micheal Schumacher” of rallying !
Farewell & Good Luck
Congratulations to Marcus Gronholm on an amazing career – and good luck for retirement. Hopefully we’ll see you back racing again sometime !
It will be interesting to see the activities for 2008 – no doubt Sebastian Loeb will dominate.
Maybe Australian Chris Atkinson can get a few wins next year (his career result thus far has been 3rd).
It all begins again on January 24th – in Monte Carlo.