Sebastien Loeb says it was a special feeling to realize at the start of the final Rally Argentina stage that he was about to successfully overcome a one-minute penalty to claim his 65th win in the World Rally Championship.
Loeb denied he ever lost motivation following his penalty for arriving early at a day-one control on the South American event. He fought back to reclaim the lead from Citroen teammate Sebastien Ogier on the powerstage.
"My one objective was to close the gap after I was given the one-minute penalty and finally it paid," Loeb said. "I had only one chance to catch the driver in front.
"I had Mikko [Hirvonen] 45 seconds ahead and I could see that I could be much faster than him through the stages on Saturday, so I pushed to catch him and then I had Petter [Solberg] in sight. It was a question of finding new motivation and never giving up. For sure the feeling at the start of the powerstage was special: I knew I came back from nowhere and, again, I am in the fight for the lead and for the victory."
Loeb admitted his latest win was one of the more unexpected he had taken – and possibly one of the most important in his pursuit of an eighth title.
"It was an incredible feeling," said Loeb. "For sure, I had to push hard, I had done a good rally, but this was an unexpected win. This is an important victory for the championship, that's clear."
The Frenchman added that he enjoyed the battling drive which carried him from fifth to first.
"I was on the maximum. I couldn't do much more. I was on the limit everywhere and taking risks on Saturday. You have to focus exactly on what you are doing and when you are doing this, you are a little bit in another world. These are usually the moments when the feeling is the best, you have one goal and that goal is to reach the limits and win – I like this very much."
Loeb is 13 points clear of his nearest challenger, Ford driver Hirvonen, going into next week's Acropolis Rally.