Sebastien Loeb demonstrated yet again what a class act he is as he won his fifth successive World Rally Championship. The Frenchman was superb in his Citroen, winning 11 of the 15 rallies in the series, with the last of those victories in the Wales Rally GB being arguably the most impressive as he won the event on the final stage. He dominated the season and it was a credit to the consistency of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver Mikko Hirvonen that Loeb only claimed the title at the penultimate event of the season in Japan in November.
The Finn won three times, was on the podium 11 times in all, and finished every event in the points as he battled hard, with his young compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala also getting a victory to his name. With another year's experience under their belt, the Finnish duo will be confident of pushing Loeb harder next year. Ultimately the wins in the season were shared between Citroen and Ford, but the series suffered a devastating blow earlier this month as Subaru and Suzuki, both pulled out of next year's championship due to the credit crunch.
With only two manufacturers - Citroen and Ford - committed to staying in the series, the FIA (motorsport's governing body) is going to have to come up with someurgent cost-cutting plans and ways of getting more teams involved if the championship is to remain creditable in the future. The loss of Subaru is particularly tough as the manufacturer was an integral part of the series. The sight of the late Colin McRae throwing a Subaru around rough terrain in the mid-nineties helped lift rallying's profile, and it will be an odd feeling when the new season starts next month in Ireland without the dark blue cars on the race list.
In other motorsport, the Superleague Formula had a frustrating debut season as low crowds and mechanical unreliability hurt the series. The maiden title was won by Beijing Guoan, with Al Ain Football Club winning one race in Portugal. The New Zealand driver Scott Dixon won this year's Indy Racing League (IRL) championship, with the highlight of the year for the Ganassi driver being winning the Indy 500 in May. It was a historic year for the premier single-seater in America as Danica Patrick became the first female driver to win an Indy race when she triumphed in Motegi.
In NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson claimed his third consecutive Sprint Cup Series title as he again proved the dominant force in the tin-top series. firstname.lastname@example.org