Podium lock-out for the Ford Fiesta RS WRC on Wales Rally GB

The Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team crew of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila today claimed their first victory of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship season by winning Wales Rally GB, the final round of the series. The Finns had been battling hard with Sébastien Loeb but, following an accident on a road section, the Frenchman was forced into retirement. He and co-driver Daniel Elena were nevertheless assured of the world title after the retirement of series rival Mikko Hirvonen on Friday, and the pair have claimed a record-breaking eighth FIA World Rally Championship title with Citroën*.Second position on Wales Rally GB was taken by Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson, their second podium finish of the season, while Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor claimed third, making it a podium lock-out for the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.With neither Championship contenders scoring points, Loeb wins the title by eight points over Hirvonen, with Sébastien Ogier finishing third and Jari-Matti Latvala fourth. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, the Citroën Total World Rally Team secured the crown for the seventh time on the penultimate round in Spain*. They finished 27 points ahead of Ford with the Stobart M-Sport Ford World Rally Team taking third.Today’s route was the shortest and took the crews over two loops of three stages in the Brecon Beacon mountains and over the Epynt military ranges, concluding with the 4.36 kilometre Monument Power Stage, in which the fastest three drivers in this single stage picked up additional Championship points. Here, Sébastien Ogier was fastest and picked up three points, with Dani Sordo and Latvala claiming two and one point respectively.Latvala led the crews into the stages this morning and he and Loeb were battling hard for outright honours. However, on the road section after the first stage, the Frenchman was involved in an accident with another vehicle and damage to the radiator forced him out of the event. There were no injuries in either vehicle. As a consequence, Latvala could ease the pace over the following five stages. Mads Østberg, nursing a minor engine problem, finished the season as he started it in Sweden; second, while Henning Solberg and Britain’s Kris Meeke battled for third. Meeke, in fourth, was 1.8 seconds adrift going into the final stage, but a half spin cost him 11 seconds and the event’s top Briton maintained fourth overall.  Wales Rally GB also marked the concluding round of the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup. After an exciting battle to the last stage, Ireland’s Craig Breen claimed the title.The FIA World Rally Championship resumes in 2012 with the return of the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo (18-22 January) to the calendar.* Subject to official confirmation of the results by the FIAWales Rally GB – Final Results (subject to final scrutineering)

        1.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila2.   Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson3.   Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor4.   Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle5.   Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin6.   Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk7.   Evgeny Novikov/Denis Giraudet8.   Dennis Kuipers/Frederic Miclotte9.   Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino10. Armindo Araújo/Miguel