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2009 Rally Great Britain – Click above for high-res image gallery


Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes an exciting season in motorsport. For some, it's witnessing the dominant driver shatter records while sailing to one victory after another. For others, it's the down-to-the-wire action that leaves championships undecided until the very last minute.

For decades, Formula One was dominated by the same few teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Benetton/Renault – winning the title every year until Jenson Button and Brawn GP broke the cycle this season. On the other end of the spectrum, French rally ace Sebastien Loeb has been dominating the World Rally Championship with Citroen for the past five years. But as this year's championship drifted 'round the corner to its final round in Great Britain this weekend, the title remained up for grabs. Follow the jump to read how it unfolded.


  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Mads Ostberg of Norway and Adapta AS in action during Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park, near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mads Ostberg
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Matthew Wilson of Great Britain and Scott Martin of Great Britain compete in their VK Stobart Ford Focus during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matthew Wilson;Scott Martin
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and Citroen Junior Team drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Sweet Lamb on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Ogier
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Petter Solberg of Norway and Phil Mills of Great Britain compete in their Citroen C 4 during Leg 2 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on on October 24 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Petter Solberg;Phil Mills
  • MARGAM PARK, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen drives the Citroen C4 WRC during the Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • SENNYBRIDGE, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage nine of the Wales Rally GB at Halfway on October 24, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Khalid Al Qassimi of the UAE and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Khalid Al Qassimi
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Dani Sordo of Spain and Citroen Total WRT in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dani Sordo
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and the Citroen Junior Team in action during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Myherin on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Henning Solberg of Norway and Cato Menkerud of Norway compete in their Stobart VK Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Henning Solberg;Cato Menkerud
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and Julien Ingrassia of France compete in their Citroen C 4 Junior Team during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Ogier;Julien Ingrassia
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland compete in their BP Abu Dhabi Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jari Matti Latvala;Mikka Anttila
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Armindo Araujo of Portugal and Ralliart Rally drives a Mitsubishi Evolution IX during stage ten of the Wales Rally GB at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Armindo Araujo
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Henning Solberg of Norway and Cato Menkerud of Norway compete in their Stobart VK Ford Focus during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Henning Solberg;Cato Menkerud
  • SENNYBRIDGE, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage nine of the Wales Rally GB at Halfway on October 24, 2009 in Sennybridge, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Daniel Elena of Monaco compete in their Citroen C 4 Total during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland compete in their BP Abu Dhabi Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jari Matti Latvala;Mikka Anttila
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Daniel Elena of Monaco compete in their Citroen C 4 Total during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena
  • MARGAM PARK, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen in action during Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park, near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Khalid Al Qassimi of the UAE and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drives through the water splash during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Sweet Lamb on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Khalid Al Qassimi
  • PORT TALBOT, WALES - OCTOBER 25: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage fifteen of the Wales Rally GB at Port Talbot on October 25, 2009 in Port Talbot, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 25: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT and his co-driver Daniel Elena celebrate on the Citroen C4 WRC alongside the Citroen Total WRT Team after winning the World Championship and the Wales Rally GB at Cardiff Bay on October 25, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena



After winning six out of eleven rallies this year, defending champion Loeb arrived in the UK close behind Finnish rival Mikko Hirvonen, who – after placing second behind Loeb last year and securing the manufacturers' title for Ford in 2006 and 2007 – took four rally victories this year. By the end of a fiercely fought season, the two leaders were separated in the standings by just one point, turning this weekend's Rally GB into the championship decider.




With his rival close behind in the rankings, Hirvonen failed to set the pace in the opening stages on Friday, giving Loeb a 9-second lead only to whittle it down to 2.4 seconds by the end of the seventh special stage on Saturday morning. The defending champion, however, then proceeded to open up a much bigger lead of 25 seconds by halfway through the weekend. Any chance the Finn may have had at recuperating the time and securing the lead was lost, however, when the hood on his rally-spec Focus came loose to block his vision.

Finishing over a minute behind Loeb, Hirvonen managed second place, but the two-point advantage of the Frenchman's victory was enough to propel him – and perennial co-pilot Daniel Elena – one point past the Finn and even deeper into the record books with an unprecedented sixth world championship.



Citroen's second driver Dani Sordo almost made it a one-two finish for the French team, but ultimately finished just one second behind Hirvonen to take third place. With Sordo coming in third in the championship as well, ahead of Ford's #2 Jari-Matti Latvala, Citroen managed to lock out the Ford team for the manufacturers' title for the second year in a row and its fifth in seven seasons.



With the 2009 season now wrapped up, the WRC will now focus on preparing for next year, when the championship switches to the Super 2000 formula with smaller cars that more closely resemble the production vehicles on which they're based. It'll be a new dawn for rallying that promises to be as dramatic a change as this past season was for F1. Whether Sebastien Loeb and the Citroen rally team manage to turn the new formula into another pair of titles or whether it'll shake things up to crown a new champion, however, remains to be seen.


  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Mads Ostberg of Norway and Adapta AS in action during Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park, near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mads Ostberg
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Matthew Wilson of Great Britain and Scott Martin of Great Britain compete in their VK Stobart Ford Focus during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matthew Wilson;Scott Martin
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and Citroen Junior Team drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Sweet Lamb on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Ogier
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Petter Solberg of Norway and Phil Mills of Great Britain compete in their Citroen C 4 during Leg 2 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on on October 24 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Petter Solberg;Phil Mills
  • MARGAM PARK, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen drives the Citroen C4 WRC during the Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • SENNYBRIDGE, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage nine of the Wales Rally GB at Halfway on October 24, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Khalid Al Qassimi of the UAE and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Khalid Al Qassimi
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Dani Sordo of Spain and Citroen Total WRT in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dani Sordo
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and the Citroen Junior Team in action during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Myherin on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Henning Solberg of Norway and Cato Menkerud of Norway compete in their Stobart VK Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Henning Solberg;Cato Menkerud
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Sebastien Ogier of France and Julien Ingrassia of France compete in their Citroen C 4 Junior Team during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Ogier;Julien Ingrassia
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland compete in their BP Abu Dhabi Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jari Matti Latvala;Mikka Anttila
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Armindo Araujo of Portugal and Ralliart Rally drives a Mitsubishi Evolution IX during stage ten of the Wales Rally GB at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Armindo Araujo
  • CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 23: Henning Solberg of Norway and Cato Menkerud of Norway compete in their Stobart VK Ford Focus during Leg 1 of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 23, 2009 in Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Henning Solberg;Cato Menkerud
  • SENNYBRIDGE, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage nine of the Wales Rally GB at Halfway on October 24, 2009 in Sennybridge, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Daniel Elena of Monaco compete in their Citroen C 4 Total during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland compete in their BP Abu Dhabi Ford Focus during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jari Matti Latvala;Mikka Anttila
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Daniel Elena of Monaco compete in their Citroen C 4 Total during the Shakedown of the WRC Wales Rally GB on October 22 in United Kingdom, Wales. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena
  • MARGAM PARK, WALES - OCTOBER 22: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen in action during Shakedown for the Wales Rally GB on October 22, 2009 in Margam Park, near Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • RESOLVEN, WALES - OCTOBER 24: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen in action during stage 10 of the Wales Rally GB 2009 at Rhondda on October 24, 2009 in Resolven, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • LLANGURIG, WALES - OCTOBER 23: Khalid Al Qassimi of the UAE and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drives through the water splash during stage two of the Wales Rally GB at Sweet Lamb on October 23, 2009 in Llangurig, Wales. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Khalid Al Qassimi
  • PORT TALBOT, WALES - OCTOBER 25: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT drives the Citroen C4 WRC during stage fifteen of the Wales Rally GB at Port Talbot on October 25, 2009 in Port Talbot, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb
  • CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 25: Sebastien Loeb of France and Citroen Total WRT and his co-driver Daniel Elena celebrate on the Citroen C4 WRC alongside the Citroen Total WRT Team after winning the World Championship and the Wales Rally GB at Cardiff Bay on October 25, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastien Loeb;Daniel Elena


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      WOW...... Bryn Lennon from Getty Images is a master of WRC photography. I have never seen stills like that from a rally!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great news! Now I can watch the Rally Portugal on HD Net, secure in the knowledge of final victory by the Citroen Team. Go Loeb!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Speaking of which, I watched Rally Portugal last night and those were some very bad crashes that happened there. Latavala (sp?) rolling down the hill and such.
      • 5 Years Ago
      God... that's REAL racing!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amen
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 Gotta love WRC!! The pictures are great as well!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thanks for the awesome supply of new backgrounds!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, outstanding photos.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i wish speed channel would bring back wrc instead of repetitive episodes of wrecked fml.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or that passtime garbage, or pinks crap.