Loeb closing fast on most WRC wins record

Sébastien Loeb is on course to overtake Carlos Sainz at the top of the all-time World Rally Championship winners list before the halfway point of next season, if he continues at his current rate of success.

The reigning world champion notched up a seventh win from nine starts this year on the Rally Argentina in July, eclipsing the record he jointly held with Didier Auriol for the most number of victories in one season. The phenomenal run brought him up to 17 wins and means the Citroën star is closing fast on Sainz’s record of 26.

But the situation is complicated by Citroën’s withdrawal at the end of 2005. Loeb’s options for next season include a privateer Xsara while awaiting the French marque’s likely return in 2007, or a switch to the factory M-Sport Ford squad.

Loeb scored six of his wins this year on consecutive events, but Peugeot’s Marcus Grönholm ended his run on the Rally Finland in August.