Latvala claims Wales rally

2011-11-13 16:47

Cardiff - Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala won the final rally of the season, the Wales Rally GB here on Sunday for his fifth career win but first since his home rally in 2010.

The 26-year-old led home a Ford Fiesta 1-2-3 after Citroen's newly-crowned champion Sebastien Loeb exited the contest after an accident between the 18th and 19th stages.

Latvala finished more than four minutes ahead of Norwegian duo Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg.

Loeb was forced out when his car collided head on with a car driven by a Spanish spectator, a friend of Danio Sordo, while making his way to the start of the 19th special stage.

Both he and co-driver Daniel Elena as well as the driver and passenger in the other car escaped unscathed but the Citroen was incapable of further action.

The 37-year-old - crowned world champion for the eighth time on Friday when nearest rival Mikko Hirvonen crashed out - was lying in second overall just over seven seconds adrift of Latvala.

"The radiator was damaged but we are going to try and repair the car so that it can mount the podium in Cardiff," said a Citroen spokesperson.

Latvala's victory was a welcome respite for Ford, who are yet to decide whether they will continue in the championship next year after just three wins this term.

Final standings on Sunday from the Wales Rally GB, the 13th and final event in this season's world rally championship:


1. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS 3hr 27min 3.5sec, 2. Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS at 3min 42.9sec, 3. Henning Solberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS 7:05.1, 4. Kris Meeke (GBR) Mini John Cooper Works 7:12.3, 5. Matthew Wilson (GBR) Ford Fiesta RS 8:57.3, 6. Ott Tanak (EST) Ford Fiesta RS 9:27.1, 7. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ford Fiesta RS 9:47.7, 8. Dennis Kuipers (NED) Ford Fiesta RS 10:12.7, 9. Ken Block (USA) Ford Fiesta RS 16:01.2, 10. Armindo Araujo (POR) Mini John Cooper Works 17:01.6


11. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Citroen DS3 17:47.8

Principal retirements:

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS, engine (SS7), Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3, accident (after SS18)

Power Stage (SS23, 4.36km):

1. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Citroen DS3 3pts

2. Dani Sordo (ESP) Mini John Cooper Works 2 pts

3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS 1 pt

Special stage winners:

Latvala 11 (SS1, SS8, SS10, SS11, SS13, SS15 to SS19, SS21), Loeb 5 (SS2, SS4, SS7, SS12, SS14), Hirvonen 3 (SS3, SS5, SS6), Ogier 3 (SS20, SS22, SS23), Meeke 1 (SS9)

Overall standings:


1. S. Loeb (FRA) 222pts, 2. M. Hirvonen (FIN) 214, 3. S. Ogier (FRA) 196, 4. J-M. Latvala (FIN) 172, 5. P. Solberg (NOR) 110, 6. M. Ostberg (NOR) 88, 7. M. Wilson (GBR) 63, 8=. D. Sordo (ESP) 59, H. Solberg (NOR) 59, 10. K. Raikkonen (FIN) 34


14. Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE) 15

18. Hayden Paddon (NZL) 10