Loeb wins Rally of New ZealandJune 24th, 2012 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS
Auckland, June 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Eight-time champion Sebastien Loeb extended his lead in the World Rally Championship (WRC) by winning the New Zealand round Sunday.
Loeb took his first win in New Zealand since 2008 by 29.6 seconds from his teammate Mikko Hirvonen to stretch his lead over Hirvonen in the championship to 38 points with six rallies remaining.
“It was really a good fight, over two long days, on some beautiful roads so I really enjoyed myself. It was the perfect rally,” Loeb said on the WRC website.
Russian driver Evgeny Novikov finished fourth after losing third place to Petter Solberg, and is now fifth in the championship after overtaking Jari-Matti Latvala, who was seventh in New Zealand despite four stage wins.
“Fourth place is a very good result for us and I have really enjoyed the stages all weekend,” Novikov said on the website of his M-Sport team.
The Russian decided to settle for fourth place rather than pushing to retake third on the final day, he said.
“Even the smallest mistake can cause the car to roll in these sorts of conditions so we decided not to push today.”
Loeb, 38, and his co-driver Daniel Elena have won every world championship since 2004.
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