31 Aug 2008

Loeb wins Rally of New Zealand

5:54 pm on 31 August 2008

Sebastien Loeb has won the Rally of New Zealand after a dramatic final day which saw the two leading cars strike problems.

Ford drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen, who were first and second overnight, both lost control of their cars on the second to last stage, a 30 kilometre section along gravel roads near Raglan.

Their mistakes allowed Citroen's Loeb to convert a 15 second deficit at the start of the day into a 17 second victory.

Four times world champion Loeb says was not expecting to win after getting off to a bad start to the final day of the three day rally, spinning out in the first stage and dropping a further 10 seconds back.

Citroen's Dani Sordo was second with Hirvonen third.

The win extends Loeb's lead in the world championship to eight points over Hirvonen.