Latvala triumphs in GB Rally
Jari-Matti Latvala (File)
Cardiff - Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala of Ford won the Rally of Great Britain, the 10th leg of the World Rally Championship, ahead of France's Sebastien Loeb in Cardiff on Sunday.
Also victorious in last year's race, Latvala led practically from the start to finish 27.8sec ahead of championship leader and eight-time world champion Loeb, with Latvala's Norwegian team-mate Petter Solberg a further 0.9sec back in third place.
The result prevented Citroen from claiming victory in the constructors' championship, but both Citroen and Loeb will expect to be crowned champions at the Rally of France in Alsace on October 4-7.
Despite a late fightback on Sunday, Loeb was unable to undo the damage inflicted during the first two days of the race, when Ford proved more adept at handling the slippery roads in the south Wales countryside.
He did, however, succeed in overhauling Solberg, who began the day more than six seconds in front of him.
Latvala recorded the seventh victory of his career and his second win this season, after a previous success in Sweden.
It enabled Ford to bring an end to a run of five straight victories for the all-conquering Loeb, who is nonetheless closing in on his ninth successive world championship crown.
Results from the final day of the Rally of Great Britain, the 10th of 13 legs of the world championship on Sunday:
1. Jari-Matti Latvala-Mikka Anttila (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) 3hr 03min 40.3sec, 2. Sebastien Loeb-Daniel Elena (FRA-MON/Citron DS3) at 27.8sec, 3. Petter Solberg-Chris Patterson (NOR-GBR/Ford Fiesta RS) 28.7, 4. Mads Ostberg-Jonas Andersson (NOR-SWE/Ford Fiesta RS) 1min 10.6sec, 5. Mikko Hirvonen-Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/Citroen DS3) 1:29.5, 6. Evgeny Novikov-Ilka Minor (RUS-AUT/Ford Fiesta RS) 3:37.0, 7. Thierry Neuville-Nicolas Gisoul (BEL/Citroen DS3) 4:11.9, 8. Matthew Wilson-Scott Martin (GBR/Ford Fiesta RS) 6:00.4, 9. Martin Prokop-Zdenek Hruza (CZE/Ford Fiesta) 6:58.9, 10. Nasser Al-Attiyah-Giovanni Bernacchini (QAT-ITA/Citren DS3) 9.32.1
Special stage winners:
Solberg (SS1, SS2, SS10, SS12), Latvala (SS3, SS4, SS5, SS6, SS9, SS11, SS13), Ostberg (SS7), Loeb (SS8, SS18), Hirvonen (SS19)
World championship standings:
1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) 219pts, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) 158, 3. Petter Solberg (NOR) 119, 4. Mads Ostberg (NOR) 114, 5. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) 113, 6. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) 63, 7. Martin Prokop (CZE) 40, 8. Thierry Neuville (BEL) 38, 9. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) 31, 10. Dani Sordo (ESP) 31, 11. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 28, 12. Ott Tanak (EST) 26, 13. Armindo Araujo (POR) 11, 14. Christopher Atkinson (GBR) 10, 15. Franois Delecour (FRA) 8
1. Citroen Racing 348pts, 2. Ford Motorsport 237, 3. M-Sport (Ford) 125, 4. Qatar WRT (Citroen) 65, 5. Citroen Junior Team 62