Five rounds in to this year's World Rally Championship all bets were off. Sebastien Loeb had won every event at the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC, and looked to be cruising to another world title.
Not so fast. If anyone needs reminding how quickly fortunes can change in the WRC, they need look no further than 2009 title fight, which was settled on the final round after an unexpected fightback by Mikko Hirvonen and Ford.
After initial five wins, Loeb didn't take another victory for six months. He made uncharacteristic errors and crashed out of events, suffered tyre problems and was excluded on one occasion. Suddenly, his competitive life was tougher than ever before.
The final event, Rally GB, became a two-way dash for the crown, with the winner of the event sealing the drivers' title (Citroen wrapped up the manufacturers' crown with greater ease).Loeb delivered again - but it was enthralling stuff, as Hirvonen finally emerged as a credible challenger, to the extent that only one other man won an event, Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala.
1 Sebastien Loeb 93
2 Mikko Hirvonen 92
3 Dani Sordo 64
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 41
5 Petter Solberg 35
6 Henning Solberg 33
7 Matthew Wilson 28
8 Sebastien Ogier 24
9 Federico Villagra 16
10 Conrad Rautenbach 9
1 Citroen Total World Rally Team 167
2 BP Ford World Rally Team 140
3 Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team 80
4 Citroën Junior Team 47
5 Munchi's Ford World Rally Team 23