That’s it. Rallying must wave goodbye to Sebastien Loeb. The Frenchman with the most WRC wins in history (a mere nine in a row) recorded a somewhat ignominious final race against his glittering career – and in his home town, no less – as he watched compatriot Sebastien Ogier take the 2013 driver’s title.
Loeb headed into the final leg of the rally in a four-way fight for victory, but ended up upside down in a ditch. “I started [SS15] flat out,” he later said, “because it was a close situation. But then I lost the rear in a fast right corner, and then we had a spin and I finished in the ditch. And that was the race over.”
Thankfully, both Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena walked from the crash unharmed, but it brought down the curtain on Loeb’s WRC career. He remained upbeat about the situation. “I was not driving for the championship so I don’t need the points, but I do feel sorry for the spectators waiting in the stages.” Seb will turn to the WTCC next year, and would have liked to have finished on the podium in his home town, but, “that’s life,” he later conceded.
New champion Ogier – who managed to clinch the title on Thursday – stormed ahead to post the quickest times, putting him comfortably ahead of Dani Sordo and Jari-Matti Latvala, while M-Sport Ford’s Thierry Neuville (the same chap who nearly made TG.com cough up a lung at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed) rounded out the top five, despite a blistering performance that nearly edged Ogier’s pace.
Wish you were there? Have a click through our exclusive gallery below…
Pictures: Drew Gibson (@drewgibsonphoto)
(PS, we caught up with Seb ahead of his final race in France – here’s what the nine-time champ had to say)