Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen has retired from day one of the Wales Rally GB following his off in SS7.

The Finn managed to get to the end of Dyfnant 1, but with his car badly damaged, he was unable to make it back to the 30-minute mid-day service in Builth Wells. It has yet to be confirmed if he will be able to re-start on Saturday under the SupeRally, but currently it is said to be unlikely.

Hirvonen's woes mean Sebastien Loeb is now pretty much guaranteed to take his eighth WRC drivers' title, especially as he came into the event with an 8 point lead and is currently on course to claim another 25 for the win.

"It's devastating to go out in an incredible battle with Sebastien Loeb. We will try to fix the car but it does look like there's too much damage to the engine," Ford Abu Dhabi team boss, Malcolm Wilson told the official WRC site.

"I believe the damage is already done, but our main priority is to get him back here and out again tomorrow.

"It's a huge disappointment for the whole team after getting back into the championship fight again and then sadly losing it on the first day of the event," he concluded.