Latvala wins after Loeb crashes out
Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala has taken his first win of 2011 at the season-ending Wales Rally GB.
Latvala’s win was assured when second-placed man Sebastien Loeb endured a bizarre accident on a road section with five stages remaining.
Loeb had already been assured of his eighth consecutive World Rally Championship title after Mikko Hirvonen crashed on Friday – damaging the engine of his Ford Fiesta.
The Frenchman said he could do nothing to avoid the collision that took him out of the rally.
“Between the two stages on the road section in a very narrow part over a crest, the car came in front and I went to the side and he went to the wrong side,” Loeb told Autosport.
“He had a bad reflex – he was Spanish so he drives on the other side of the road.
“We couldn’t do anything so we just hit, not hard but the car was broken. When you have no water in the engine, you can’t go anywhere.
“This is not the first time it’s happened to me. It’s bad luck sometimes.”
The incident saw Latvala cruise to a 3:42.9s victory from Mads Ostberg (Stobart Ford), while Henning Solberg (Stobart Ford) was almost 3:30s further adrift in third.
Kris Meeke salvaged a fourth placed finish for Mini after team-mate Dani Sordo crashed out on Friday, while Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford), Ott Tanak (M-Sport Ford), Evgeny Novikov (Abu Dhabi Ford), Dennis Kuipers (FERM Ford), Ken Block (Monster Ford) and Armindo Araujo (Italia Mini) rounded out the top 10.
Having crashed out of contention on the very opening stage on Thursday, Sebastien Ogier took the three points for being fastest on the Power Stage, with Sordo second and Latvala third.