Loeb rules in New Zealand

Citroen claim a 1-2 finish as reigning champion moves further clear

Last Updated: 24/06/12 10:09am

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Sebastien Loeb: also triumphed in New Zealand in 2005 and 2008

Sebastien Loeb: also triumphed in New Zealand in 2005 and 2008

Sky Bet

Sebastien Loeb extended his lead in the World Rally Championship by winning the Rally of New Zealand for a third time in his career.

The Frenchman beat Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen by almost 30 seconds to open up a 38-point margin at the top of the standings.

Loeb, who also triumphed in New Zealand in 2005 and 2008, had led by just 6.8 seconds going into the final day but finished well clear of his nearest rival, meaning he has now riumphed in five of the seven races this season.

"It's been a long weekend and my driving has not been perfect," he said afterwards.

"We made a few mistakes in the closing power stage, when we were pushing too hard but the most important thing is that we have won."

Petter Solberg was over a minute further back in third, moving him ahead of the absent Mads Ostberg into third place overall.

The major drama on the final day came when Ott Tanak rolled his Ford during the 22nd special stage. The Estonian was unharmed but had to retire from the race.

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