Tony O'Kane | May 29, 2009

WHILE BECOMING a knight in ye olden days often required either slaying a dragon, rescuing a princess or fighting in a questionable holy war, these days the path to knighthood can be a little different.

For rally ace Sebastian Loeb, that path was the muddy and gravel-strewn stages of the World Rally Championship.

Loeb was knighted earlier this week by French President Nicholas Sarkozy in a ceremony at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Loeb was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, an award which was introduced by Napoleon after the French revolution and the highest that can be awarded to a private individual in France.

The Légion d’honneur recognises outstanding achievement from French citizens in any area of the

country’s activity, and with 52 rally wins and five WRC driver's titles under his belt no-one can argue Loeb isn't a deserving recipient

"I am extremely honoured to have been recognised in this way by the President of the Republic," Loeb said after the ceremony.

"This award is given to an individual, but I would like to share it with each and every member of the

Citroën team. Every time that we hear the French National Anthem played at the end of a rally, we all feel

exactly the same pride at having showcased France to the best of all our abilities.

"I hope now that I can continue to worthily represent my country by claiming a sixth consecutive World Rally Championship title at the end of this year," he added.

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