Citroen's Sebastien Loeb
has won the 2011 World Rally drivers' championship, following confirmation that Mikko Hirvonen
will not be able to re-start tomorrow on Wales Rally GB.
The Finn's hopes of taking the title realistically came to an end in SS7, when he went off the road and damaged the radiator on his Fiesta RS WRC car. Although he got to the end of the test he was unable to make it back to service.
Ford has now confirmed that the damage was terminal and so the 31-year-old will not be able to SupeRally.
“Bad news people. Despite massive efforts from all the team, Mikko will sadly not be able to restart under SupeRally on Saturday,” the team said via Twitter. “Mikko has praised an 'absolutely fantastic effort from the team all year' and will stick around to support Jari-Matti [Latvala]'s bid for victory.
“And congratulations Sebastien Loeb
on an eighth world championship crown!”
Earlier in the day Ford had said there was a 'chunk of light' and that it was looking 'promising' that Hirvonen would be able to re-start. However, even if he had, it would have only prolonged the misery, as given Loeb had an eight point lead prior to the weekend and Mikko would have been running right down the order, it would have required a miracle for him to get back into a position where he could have scored sufficient points.
To read Mikko's comments after his off in SS7 - click here