Latvala claims emphatic victory for Ford at Wales Rally GB
Jari-Matti Latvala has won Wales Rally GB, the 10th round of the World Rally Championship.
The Ford World Rally Team driver took the lead midway through the opening leg and was never headed on the event winning by 27.8 seconds from Sebastien Loeb in a Citroen who overhauled the second Ford factory entry of Petter Solberg by just 0.9s.
“This win means a lot to me,” said Latvala.
“Rally GB is like a second home event because I started my career here 10 years ago, and I have more experience of this event than my own rally in Finland. It’s one of my favourite rounds and this is the first time in my career that I have won the same rally in consecutive seasons.
“We had some doubts about our speed after the previous gravel rally, but we came back strongly. The team has done so much work since then and it paid off here, so this win is for everyone in the team. The car has been so fast all season but we’ve had too many disappointments and finally we delivered the result we deserved.”
Australia’s Chris Atkinson in the Motorsport Italia Mini climbed into the top-10 heading into the final stages before breaking a left-rear toe control link on the suspension. He lost 90 seconds in one stage dropped him back to 11th behind Nasser Al Atiyah.
“Overall I’m happy and positive that we’re in a good place for the forthcoming gravel events,” said Atkinson.
“Our pace was nice and consistent, always close to the targets we set coming into the event. We’re especially pleased that between here and Germany, we’ve contested 32 stages and completed all 32 successfully!”
Sydney-sider Molly Taylor finished third in her class in a front-wheel-drive Citroen DS3.
“We are really really happy with the result and our times have been encouraging all weekend,” said Taylor.
“Looking forward we need to work our consistency a bit and stay on the pace on all the stages.”
Top Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon remains second in the Super 2000 WRC standings despite issues with his Skoda Fabia S2000 on the opening day.
Paddon finished on a positive note winning four of the final day’s six stages.
“Wales Rally GB has been an eventful and trying rally,” said Paddon.
“Nevertheless there are still plenty of positives to take away and finishing seventh in the SWRC category has given us enough points to stay second in the championship, now tied with Craig Breen who won the category here. Championship leader P-G Andersson has increased his lead slightly with an eight point advantage over Craig and us.”
The championship reverts to asphalt next month when Strasbourg hosts Rallye de France on 4 – 7 October, the final pure sealed surface round of the season.
FINAL POSITIONS: Wales Rally GB
|4||Mads Ostberg||Adapta Ford||+1:10.6|
|6||Ott Tanak||M-Sport Ford||+3:37.0|
|7||Evgeny Novikov||M-Sport Ford||+4:11.9|
|8||Thierry Neuville||Citroen Junior||+6:00.4|
|9||Matthew Wilson||M-Sport Ford||+6:58.9|
|10||Nasser Al-Atiyah||Qatar Citroen||+9:32.1|
|11||Chris Atkinson||Italia Mini||+9:37.0|
STANDINGS : Drivers
|4||Mads Ostberg||Adapta Ford||114|
|6||Evgeny Novikov||M-Sport Ford||63|
|14||Chris Atkinson||Italia Mini||10|
|1||Citroen Total WRT||348|
|3||M-Sport Ford WRT||123|
|6||Citroen Junior WRT||60|