Citroen managing director Frederic Banzet has paid tribute to his racing department in the wake of Sebastien Loeb's seventh consecutive World Rally Championship title, sealed Sunday in Strasbourg.
Citroen's leader was present on the Rallye de France for the duration of the rally, as was Guy Frequelin, the man who first signed Loeb to the French marque. Both were delighted to see Loeb's unbeaten run of titles extended by another season – and Citroen's own WRC record improved to stand at six manufacturers' championships in eight years.
Banzet said: "It's another historic day for Citroen. A double and the world titles for us here in France – it's simply incredible! This result is down to the best team in rallying in the world. I'd like to associate all the men and women who work in the Citroen Racing factory in Versailles with this success, as well as all the collaborators who've contributed to these new world titles."
An emotional Frequelin added: "It's fantastic for everybody and especially for Sebastien and Daniel [Elena, Loeb's co-driver]. They are very special and still the best."
Loeb's current team principal Olivier Quesnel said: "What Loeb's achieved this weekend is quite simply exceptional. Nobody can image the pressure on his shoulders. But he managed to ignore it when he had to concentrate on going for the quickest times. He didn't really need to come first in this rally to become World Champion, but the guy's a born winner and he couldn't just do the necessary. Once again, he proved that he's the best driver in the world at present."
The man himself admitted his seventh title didn't quite eclipse the first one, but winning it on the roads he'd grown up on made it more special.
Loeb said: "For sure, you never forget the first one, but to win here in my home town with all of my friends everywhere – especially in the last stage –made this one incredible. This one will have a special place in my heart. We won it after a very difficult race.
"It's quite simply mind blowing to cross the finishing line in my hometown, and it's incredible to see so many people. I don't think we've ever seen so many spectators at a rally."