click above for more high-res action shots

Rally-racing superstar Sebastien Loeb drove into the history books this past Sunday in Monaco when he and co-driver Daniel Elena (a native of Monaco) took the checkered flag at the Monte Carlo Rally for a record fifth time. The Monaco stages kicked off the 2008 World Rally Championship, and Loeb is hoping that the victory at the season opener will be the first of many as he and Elena campaign for their fifth consecutive WRC title.

Although Dani Sordo, Loeb's team-mate at Citroen, put up an early fight, Sordo retired from second place with engine problems, leaving Loeb with an eventual two-and-a-half second lead over Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen. Acknowledging Loeb's repeated domination in Monte Carlo, Hirvonen was satisfied with his second-place finish.

This was the last time the Monte Carlo Rally counts towards the World Rally Championship, as next year the event joins the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The WRC picks up again in Sweden on February 8.

We've selected some of the finer action shots from the Monaco Rally and assembled them into a high-res gallery below.

[Source: Autosport]

Related Gallery2008 WRC Monte Carlo Rally