WRC

SEBASTIEN LOEB CLAIMED THE OVERALL VICTORY IN FRANCE – HIS 75TH IN THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – to secure in his ninth WRC drivers’ title with Citroen becoming WRC manufacturers’ champion for an eighth time.

With Loeb embarking on a partial WRC campaign with Citroen in 2013, the statistics below demonstrate the French legend’s impact on the sport and the success he and co-driver Daniel Elena have achieved since they first emerged on the world stage back in 2001 by winning the forerunner to the Junior World Rally Championship.

Loeb’s WRC career in numbers:

9: World titles shared with co-driver Daniel Elena

75: Number of WRC event wins

2: Rallies remaining before he calls time on full-time WRC career

162: Number of WRC starts to date

1999: Year of Loeb’s WRC debut in Catalunya

4: Rounds missed after breaking shoulder in 2006 – he still claimed title

874: Fastest stage times set

1525: WRC points scored

100: Percentage of stages won on Tour de Corse in 2005

23: Different world championship rallies won

6: Record held by Loeb for most WRC event wins in a row, achieved twice

2002: Year of Loeb’s first WRC victory – Rallye Deutschland

9: Number of occasions Loeb has won Germany’s WRC qualifier

11: Victories scored during the 2008 season

3: Types of Citroen World Rally Cars he has driven to victory

8: Different team-mates during WRC career

4: Team bosses worked under

1: Amount of co-drivers employed during WRC career

5: Rallies won at the start of the 2009 season in succession

13: Rounds tackled in 2010, number of times points scored

 

BTCC

PLATO ON POLE AT SILVERSTONE AS HONDA RIVALS STRUGGLE
 
Jason Plato has taken pole position in this afternoon’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Silverstone as points leader Gordon Shedden struggled in a lowly 19th.
 
Oxford’s Plato took his fifth pole of the season – also his third in a row – with a best lap of 58.717s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6. That is a new BTCC qualifying lap record around Silverstone’s 1.64-mile National circuit.
 
Warwickshire’s Mat Jackson was second fastest in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus which had been repaired following a practice session prang and Lancashire’s Frank Wrathall third in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis.
 
Robert Collard’s eBay Motors BMW, Dave Newsham’s Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra and Daniel Welch’s Welch Motorsport Proton Persona were next up to make it six different makes of car in the top six.
 
But the two championship leaders Shedden and Matt Neal in their factory Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civics were in major trouble. Neal, the reigning Champion, was only tenth and Shedden a disastrous 19th on a circuit that both had already hinted would be difficult for them because of their car’s lack of straightline speed.
 
Fife’s Shedden will go into tomorrow’s three races three points ahead of Neal with Plato a further 29 back and a possible maximum of 67 available. Andrew Jordan, 11th in his Pirtek Racing Honda, Collard and his team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole who was eighth in qualifying plus Jackson all still have a chance of winning this year’s title as well.
 
Plato commented: “Gordon only 19th – that’s a shame, isn’t it? You shouldn’t wish ill on your rivals… but I do. Hopefully the conditions will stay dry for tomorrow because clearly we’re in great shape and a good points haul will really make this championship come alive for us. Things have a way of evening themselves out and maybe here it’s our turn after some bad luck.”
 
A dejected Shedden, from Dalegty Bay, added: “We knew this was going to be our bogey circuit but we didn’t expect it to be this bad – the pace simply isn’t there. As the championship leader I’ve also got to start the first race tomorrow carrying maximum success ballast in my car. The only positive from that session is that it’s over.”
 
Meanwhile Jackson was delighted with not only his best qualifying performance so far in 2012 but also the best yet for his squad’s new NGTC-spec Focus. He enthused: “It’s going really well this weekend despite the off earlier in practice. The gap to Jason is quite large when you look at how close it is behind but the Focus is the only other car to get into the 58-seconds bracket and we’re learning all the time. I’m feeling good about tomorrow.”
 
Wrathall, who turned 26 earlier in the week, said: “I’m delighted with third. It’s such a tight lap with each place decided by the tiniest fractions so it’s important we qualified well.”
 
Tomorrow’s three races will be shown live as part of a mammoth seven-hour broadcast (11.00am-6.00pm) on the ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels plus the www.itv.com website.

Formula One

VETTEL WINS IN DOMINANT STYLE IN JAPAN AND KAMUI WOWS THE FANS!

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel won today’s Japanese Grand Prix in dominant fashion to move to within four points of the lead of the drivers’ championship with five races remaining. The defending world champion led the race from start to finish, securing his third race win at Suzuka in four years, his 24th career victory in F1 and the 32nd for the Red Bull-Renault partnership.

SEBASTIAN VETTEL: “It’s been a fantastic weekend. Yesterday’s qualifying was perfect and today again, the balance of the car was amazing. We didn’t change too much at the stops; it just seemed to work fantastically well. I’m very happy, the guys have been pushing very hard and even though we didn’t have major upgrades here, it still seemed to come together and the balance was there – and that’s what made the difference today. It’s a shame for Alonso, it’s not something you hope for and it could happen to us at the next race. We’ve seen this year there are a lot of up and downs and things change quickly – we have to keep our heads down and take it step by step.”

 

KAMUI KOBAYASHI: “It hasn’t sunk in yet, it is hard to believe – I achieved my first podium in Suzuka! It was a fantastic race and we have been working really hard to get to this point since we were lacking pace on Friday. But the Sauber F1 Team did a great job to recover from there. Starting from third obviously helped a lot and also the long run I did on Friday made me very confident for the race. The team has built a great car this year. You can tell this from the podium finishes my team-mate has had. At times I was close to that as well but I never had the luck. It means so much to me that it finally worked out. Maybe from now on things will be easier. I had a very long last stint today and Jenson (Button) changed for fresh tyres later. My rear tyres where really bad in the end and I had a lot of oversteer. But regardless of this I had to push to defend my podium place. Only during the final lap did I allow myself to really think I can keep him behind me, because then the best overtaking opportunity at the end of the straight was over, and then I saw all the fans and the raised hands. It meant a lot to me and I want to thank the Japanese fans.”