Latvala wins Rally GB, Loeb champion Last man standing Jari-Matti Latvala takes victory in Rally Great Britain after champion Loeb and rival Hirvonen crash out
Jari-Matti Latvala emerged as the last man standing to win the dramatic WRC season finale in the Welsh forests of Rally Great Britain.
It was Latvala's first victory of the season but proceedings were highlighted by the title fight between new world champion (for the 8th year on the trot) Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen who retired his Ford on Friday after crashing on Friday afternoon. Latvala and Loeb had until then been swapping the lead in a thrilling title battle.
Latvala took the challenge to Loeb, taking the lead Saturday afternoon before Loeb then retired following a freak collision with a road car Sunday morning, leaving Latvala to win by nearly four minutes from a delighted and most impressive Mads Ostberh and Henning Solberg holding off Kris Meeke's Mini for a Ford clean sweep in it's home rally.
"It's a great feeling," Latvala admitted. "It's been a long time since I won - one and a half years - a very stressful time and frustrating. "This is a great, great way to finish the season!"
Ostberg passed Petter Solberg when he had a puncture on Friday before Solberg retired Saturday morning, leaving Ostberg free to cruise to the finish despite an engine scare along the way.
The rest of the top nine was made up of Ford privateer - Matthew Wilson taking fifth ahead impressive WRC debutant Ott Tanak and Evgeny Novikov, Dennis Kuipers, Ken Block and Armindo Araujo's Mini.
Citroen's other works driver Sebastien Ogier barely featured in this rally, crashing on Thursday afternoon's opening Great Orme stage and spending the rest of the weekend a long way down the order running under super rally rules. although the French driver took the three Power Stage points for Citroen.
WRC Great Britain - results
Stage 20 - Mikko leads, Loeb out ari-Matti Latvala is cruising to victory in the Rally Great Britain after Sebastien Loeb retied after being involved in an accident on a road section. "It makes a big difference and it was very shocking news actually," Latvala admitted. "We got the message that Loeb had a crash and when Henning and Mads came in we heard it was a road accident, and after that we started to back off a bit."
Latvala had opened his lead up over Loeb to 7.1 seconds before Loeb collided with a car driving on the wrong side of the road - there were no injuries. That left Latvala with a three minutes lead over Mads Ostberg's Stobart Ford ahead of a fight for third between Henning Solberg who is under increasing pressure from Mini's Kris Meeke who reduced the gap from 45s to 21s Sunday morning.
Matthew Wilson was fifth for Stobart, from Ott Tanak's and Evgeny Novikov's Fords
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