On the limit with Citroen
The announcement that Mini is returning to international rallying has boosted the World Rally Championship but before they return, there looks to be few challengers to the domination of Citroen.
Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala took victory on the recent Rally Finland to keep the two Sebastien's - Loeb and Ogier - on their toes, but there is no doubt that the French team is in a class of its own. And we think it's time to show off some of their past and present heroes.
As the gallery above illustrates, some of the most breath-taking action on rally stages involves jumps. In Sweden and Finland, these are a major part of the rally and a couple of years ago, the Swedish organisers introduced an award presented to the driver who performs the longest jump on the rally. It's named in honour of one of the most spectacular drivers of them all, the late Colin McRae, and one-time Citroen driver. Here's the great man in action in 2002 - smokin' ain't the word!
Of course, when McRae was with Citroen Loeb was just beginning his rapid rise in the sport. We've since discovered he can turn it on as well as this clip from Finland demonstrates.
Not to be outdone, Citroen's latest progeny, Sebastien Ogier, looks set to comfortably slip into Loeb's shoes even if he has the odd moments of bad luck like here at Wales Rally GB in 2009.
The WRC returns in a couple of weeks with Rally Germany (20-22 August). We can't recommend it highly enough.