But before the people who are inclined to pick up a pen and write a furious letter of complaint actually do so, we should point out that we are fully aware that the gap between Loeb and his Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen is just 38 points.
The 55 points we are talking about - which are the equivalent of two wins and a bit of luck on the Power Stage - separate Loeb from Ford’s Petter Solberg in third, which is the much more relevant figure.
Unless Loeb gets into trouble of some sort, Hirvonen is not going to be allowed to challenge him for the title - and that’s no criticism of Citroen, just an acknowledgement of the most effective way to win a championship. Citroen tried the whole equal opportunities policy last year with Sebastien Ogier and it didn’t really work. It was never going to: any team that encourages its drivers to take points out of each other rather than their rivals needs a change of strategy.
That’s the exact reason why Ford also adopted the policy of having a number one and number two driver this year, except in their case it was somewhat less successful as their number one driver kept on crashing - even without a car on one occasion, thanks to a rogue ski track in April.
Latvala is the nicest person you could hope to meet but he admits that he needs to build his confidence up again this summer after a season so far that has been beset by errors. New Zealand was a case in point: having led the rally initially, he got himself so tangled up in a wire fence on Friday that the Fiesta had to be liberated with wire cutters, a process that took four minutes.
So it wasn’t so much that Loeb was untouchably quick in New Zealand: far from it as Hirvonen was able to keep pace with him and had Petter Solberg not been on hard tyres for Friday’s soft stages, dropping a minute a half, he would have been right with Loeb at the finish too. Not to mention an on-form Latvala, who is probably faster than all three of them in terms of raw speed.
It’s just that the three people capable of getting past Loeb were either not allowed to or insisted on shooting themselves in the foot. So for the Frenchman the pressure is off and success becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Consider the statistics so far: Brother Rally New Zealand was his 72nd career victory, forming a crucial chapter in what will almost certainly be the story of his ninth consecutive title. Nobody has ever seen dominance like it, and it would be safe to bet that we will never see it again. So you have to wonder about the people who knock it; who claim that is somehow making the sport boring, too predictable, not interesting to watch.
The truth is that it makes it more fascinating, even compelling to watch. Where will Loeb stop? His contract theoretically runs to the end of 2013, and you suspect that the notion of 10 consecutive titles would sound good to him, writing his name even more indelibly in the sport’s history books than it is already.
Equally, he may decide that enough is enough at the end of this year, as that option is contractually open to him too. So we should treasure these moments and enjoy this masterclass that we are privileged to witness in our lifetime. We all hang on to the every word that people who were lucky enough to watch legends such as Fangio or Moss race in their heyday tell us, even though at the time they may have thought that it was nothing special. For future generations, when they ask us ‘but what was it really like, watching Sebastien Loeb?’ it will be no different.
With six rallies to go, two of them solely on asphalt, it’s hard to imagine anyone consistently getting the better of him. The one really big surprise could come from MINI though. Again in New Zealand, the snappily-named John Cooper Works WRC set some mightily impressive times (including two fastest stage times) and that was with a driver who was not as match fit as his rivals and a car that has nothing like the same investment behind it as its factory opposition. Curiously, the MINI is faster on asphalt than it is on gravel (the opposite tends to be true for new cars) and Sordo has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In New Zealand, Sordo once again showed total commitment: take away the time that he lost with a similar tyre choice mistake to Solberg’s on Friday, not to mention a gear selection issue, and he would in all probability have finished on the podium, which was the objective that Prodrive had fixed for him before he set out.
Another person who ticked all his boxes in New Zealand was Thierry Neuville. Fifth place on his first visit to the event suggests that he may even been ready for a number two factory seat next year provided he keeps his nose clean. Citroen know his pace, but they want to see that he can finish a rally without making mistakes - which as we’ve seen already is going to be the key to championship success this year.
The Belgian finally proved it in New Zealand by finishing just behind the Ford of Evgeny Novikov, who put in another quietly impressive drive to consolidate his fifth overall in the championship.
After his attention-grabbing antics in 2009, Novikov is doing exactly what he needs to now: keeping his head down, learning his trade, and racking up the results and the kilometres. None of these youngsters are going to stop Sebastien Loeb from winning everything; at least not for now. But it’s good to know that the future of the sport is in safe hands.