Loeb X Games victory Loeb and Citroen take victory on their X Games debut © Christian Pondella / Red bull Content Pool

Eight times World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb added X Games gold to his bulging collection of trophies after a runaway victory in the rally cross final of the X Games. But he was robbed of the chance to race Travis Pastrana after a collision in qualifying left the extreme sports legend a spectator.

The rally cross was Pastrana's only event at X Games 2012, but after taking an early lead in his qualifying he was shunted into a concrete wall at the first corner by X Games rookie Andy Scott, from Scotland.

Although the American was unhurt, the impact wrecked his Dodge Dart. "What the hell was that, dude?" shouted a stunned Pastrana while still at the wheel of his totalled car. "We've got the fastest car on the track, and the first turn of the first race? You've got to be kidding me!"

'This is our big event, and to have someone take it from me is devastating' – Travis Pastrana

With no spare car available due to the competition rules, Pastrana had no choice but to sit out the final and miss out on racing Loeb after he had invited the rally legend to visit the US for the first time. "This is our big event, and to have someone take it from me is devastating," said Pastrana, "When you brake at the point where everyone has braked all day for the corner and someone decides to come in and not brake, that's a devastating way to end what could've been a fantastic week for the team."

 

nullTravis Pastrana and Sebastien Loeb meet back stage © Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool
   

After Loeb's other friendly rival, Marcus Grönholm, out after a heavy crash left the Finn concussed, the way was clear for Loeb to dominate the X Games Rally Cross final - which he did in his usual style: putting on a show and winning by a country mile.

After a perfect start, Seb moved to the front and immediately built up a small lead. A collision on the second lap blocked the track and caused a delay, which frustrated some of the drivers, several of whom jumped the restart.

At the second restart, Loeb zipped back into the lead in a heavily modded, custom-made Citroen DS3 XL and quickly established a lead of a few seconds over Ken Block in a Ford Fiesta.

A puncture spelled the end to Block's challenge and Loeb crossed the line a full 12 seconds clear, although the WRC driver held his team-mate and X Games Rally Cross defending champion Brian Deegan at bay to take silver.

'I came here hoping I'd win and that's exactly what happened!' – Sebastien Loeb

"It's great to have Seb here," Block said philosophically, "but I knew him coming here meant one thing: that he'd be near the top of the podium, which is the way it is."

Loeb was magnanimous in victory – but his thoughts were with his close rival Grönholm: “It was a great end to the weekend and obviously, I’m really pleased to win the gold medal, but I must admit I'm finding it hard to really enjoy it when my ‘best enemy’ Marcus Grönholm is in hospital after his crash," said Sébastien.

“We were both very much looking forward to racing against each other here and it's a shame that it didn't happen. This was my first rallycross race but I quickly realised that the start would be crucial. As I was a little faster than the others in free practice, I knew that if I had got away well at the start, I'd be almost certain of winning. I came here hoping I'd win and that's exactly what happened!”

 

nullSebastien Loeb races around the Staples Center © Christian Pondella / Red bull Content Pool
   

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