Loeb takes sixth successive Mexico victory

Frenchman finished ahead of Hirvonen

World champion Sebastien Loeb, driving a Citroen, won his sixth successive Rally of Mexico title on Sunday.

The Frenchman finished 42.4 seconds ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen of Finland to extend his lead at the top of the championship after three rounds.

Loeb, an eight-time world champion, notched his 69th career victory and led Citroen's first double of the season.

"I always win here!" a beaming Loeb said. "It is a great result for the team as well, with Mikko finishing second, a one-two for us."

Norway's Petter Solberg grabbed third place in his factory Ford after teammate Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire.

Finland's Latvala was in third place overall when he rolled his Fiesta during the 54.30km Guanajuatito stage on Sunday.

He limped to the finish, but couldn't start the next, penultimate stage because of the damage.

It was a final piece of bad luck for Latvala, who led after the third stage on Friday but was hampered by suspension damage later that day. He was slowed again by a puncture on Saturday.

Latvala, who suffered his second retirement of the season, was distracted by the crash of Evgeny Novikov in front of him.

"I saw from far away Novikov's car and I was very confused," he said. "I first thought the car was on the road and I made a movement to avoid it and my car went off and rolled. It took a lot to get it back on the road."

Loeb had seized the lead on the first full day of racing on Friday and never relinquished it.

The 25 points for the victory, and two power stage bonus points, take Loeb's total atop the standings to 66 - 16 in front of Hirvonen and 19 in front of Solberg.

 

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