After securing his ninth world rally crown Sebastien Loeb proved he is both human and a good sport by crashing out of 2012 Rally Italia Sardegna and letting someone else have a turn on the podium’s top step.
And yet, it was still a Citroën DS3 WRC which dominated the event as Mikko Hirvonen took the lead after special stage 3 and didn’t relinquish it for the remainder of the event.
Although, it was almost a case of last man standing with both lead Ford drivers making mistakes leaving their second-string M-Sport counterparts Evgeny Novikov and Ott Tanak to take out the minor placings.
Hirvonen was very pleased to have claimed his breakthrough win with the all-conquring Citroën World Rally Team. “I’m really very happy with this result for my first season with Citroën. I have finished on the podium many times since February, but I was beginning to grow irritated at not finishing on the top step!” he said.
“I’ve done a lot of work with my engineer in the last few weeks and I feel that I am continuing to make steady progress. I can’t wait to be in Spain to finish the season in style!”
Meanwhile, Citroën team boss, Yves Matton already has eyes on the future, hopeful we’re witnessing the start of a new era. “This first win for Mikko and Jarmo with Citroën was one of our goals for the end of the season,” said Matton. “We felt that we owed them something after the Rally de Portugal and so it’s immensely pleasing to see them win here. This result wasn’t served up for them on a plate. They had to adopt a very high level of performance from the very start and the other leading crews made mistakes when fighting with them for the lead.
“After winning the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles at the Rallye de France, we have now added the final feather to our cap with the World Championship runner-up spot for Mikko. There’s only one more step for him to take in his career and we’ll be trying very hard to help him achieve that in 2013!”
A brief video showcasing Hirvonen’s win can be seen after the break.
[Source: Citroën Racing]