In what some soothsayers may say could be an auspicious start to the 2013 World Rally Championship season for Sebastien Loeb, the nine-straight WRC champion snatched not only his seventh Monte Carlo Rally win but also his 77th WRC victory in his Citroen Total Abu Dhabi DS3.
Loeb's victory came after the race's organizers canceled the last two stages for safety reasons when the number of spectators apparently grew too much and spilled onto the road, making it dangerous both for them and for the competitors.
"I'm always happy when I win, and Monte Carlo is one of the most exciting rallies I've done," said Loeb after the rally. "This one was really, really difficult. The conditions were extreme compared to what we have usually and winning wasn't easy."
Sebastien Ogier, meanwhile, gave newcomer Volkswagen Motorsport's Polo R a taste of the podium in its very first WRC race by finishing in second place.
"I'm so happy, it's like a victory for me,” said Ogier. "I'm a competitor and I've never been happy to finish second, but this weekend it was really the target, and to start the season like this is amazing."
Rounding out the podium finishers at third place was Loeb's teammate Dani Sordo in another Citroen DS3.
"It has been a very difficult and special Monte Carlo, not like a normal tarmac rally at all," added Sordo. "It has been very easy to make a mistake or lose time."
So, while Loeb may be semi-retired since he'll supposedly only compete in just four WRC rallies this year, it's clear that it doesn't necessarily mean he'll ease up on his competitors.