Sebastien Loeb wins 9th straight world rally title

Updated: October 7, 2012, 10:22 AM ET
Associated Press

STRASBOURG, France -- Sebastien Loeb clinched his ninth consecutive world rally title after winning Rally France on Sunday.

The French driver needed only to finish ahead of Citroen teammate Mikko Hirvonen of Finland to guarantee another world crown.

Although Loeb drove cautiously over the day's six stages, he had already established a comfortable lead, and Hirvonen made up little ground, finishing third overall behind Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland.

Loeb was 54 seconds ahead of Hirvonen overnight and appeared happy just to protect his advantage. Loeb had won four stages Friday and Saturday but failed to win any Sunday.

Loeb expects to race in no more than five rallies next season as he prepares to make the transition to a new career with Citroen in World Touring Cars.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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