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Motorsport | Rallying

Sebastien Loeb © Gallo Images

Loeb wins seventh Monte Carlo title



World champion Sebastian Loeb, in a Citroen, clinched a seventh Monte Carlo Rally title on Saturday after heavy snow and driving rain caused the race's last two stages to be cancelled.

Compatriot Sebastien Ogier, in Volkswagen, took second place as Loeb netted a 77th career win.

Stages 17 and 18 were scrapped because of the worsening weather conditions which also caused major problems for spectators, three of whom were hospitalised after falling on the treacherous surface.

Two had suffered broken legs, organisers said, amid reports as many as five spectators had fallen into a ravine with organisers, the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), saying emergency rescue services had had to be deployed.

The injuries to the bystanders forced the curtailment of stage 16 around Col de Turini and the remaining specials were scrubbed as conditions worsened.

"You just couldn't drive as the snow was engorged with water owing to the rain and you couldn't keep on the road," said Loeb.

Nine-time world champion Loeb, who had led Ogier by 1min 40sec ahead of the annulled specials, had led the season-opener since Friday's second stage as he looked to make the most of his limited schedule this season.

The Frenchman has decided to race only four events in the 2013 championship - he now will only compete in Sweden, Argentina and France.

RESULTS:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 5hr 18:57.2
2. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/Volkswagen Polo-R) at 1:39.9
3. Dani Sordo (ESP/Citroen DS3) 3:49.0
4. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroen DS3) 5:26.3
5. Bryan Bouffier (FRA/Citroen DS3) 8:13.1
6. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 12:03.7
7. Martin Prokop (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS) 23:27.3
8. Sepp Wiegand (GER/Skoda Fabia S2000) 29:34.5

Retirements:
Thierry Neuville (BEL/Ford Fiesta RS)
Evgeny Novikov (RUS/Ford Fiesta RS)
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/Volkswagen Polo-R)
Juho Hanninen (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS)

STAGE WINNERS:

Loeb 8 (SS2, SS3, SS4, SS8, SS10, SS11, SS13, SS16), Ogier 2 (SS1, ES5)
Novikov 2 (SS6, SS7)
Hanninen 1 (SS9)
Ostberg 1 (SS12)
Bouffier 1 (SS14)
Sordo 1 (SS15)

Note: The 16th special stage was abandoned and the 17th and 18th stages cancelled due to poor weather.

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