sport

Loeb signs off with win 76

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb brought the curtain down on his glittering career by claiming victory in the Rally of Spain.

The Frenchman struggled on the first day of the final rally of the season, but took the overall lead on Saturday and headed into Sunday's finale with a significant lead.

That allowed the champion to drive conservatively in the final stage in Salou and he ended up clinching victory by seven seconds ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen, who claimed second and third place respectively.

The 36-year-old, who has 76 World Rally Championship wins to his name, will compete in the tour again next year but only on a part-time basis.

He plans to switch to the World Touring Car Championship from 2014.

"For sure I really wanted to win this rally," Loeb told the World Rally Championship's official website. "We were really struggling in the start because it was really tricky on the first day.

"On the tarmac I was able to take the lead but today was not easy because we had some strange tyre choices and Jari-Matti was pushing very hard and getting closer."