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Latvala set for GB win

Jari-Matti Latvala poised to claim first win of 2011 after Sebastien Loeb's demise.

Jari-Matti Latvala looks almost certain to win Wales Rally GB following Sebastien Loeb's retirement this morning on the road section after Halfway 1.

Latvala began the final day with a 6.1 second cushion and after winning SS18, he stretched that margin to 7.4 seconds. With Loeb going out though following that test, when he collided with a car on the wrong side of the road [see separate story - click here], the matter was decided.

Latvala now heads into service H with a massive 3 minute 19.5 second advantage: “I was shocked to hear Loeb had crashed,” Jari-Matti said after SS20. “We were on our way between the stages when we heard. After that I started to back off. It's about keeping it going now – it would mean a lot to me to win here because it has been a hard year and I have had no victories for 18 months.”

Mads Ostberg meanwhile is equally comfortable in second and despite engine worries on Saturday afternoon, he said that is now in hand: “The car is running OK, we have tracked down the problem and team have control of it. It's a strong car so this will prove it. I am very happy for the position but very sorry for Loeb - through no fault of his own he is out of the rally.”

Henning Solberg is next up and currently on course for the final place on the podium, although he is coming under increased pressure from Kris Meeke, who has cut the gap between them from 45 seconds last night to just 21.3 seconds post-SS20.

“I have got more grip this morning and I'm hopeful of a podium,” said Meeke. “If I don't make it, it won't be for want of trying.”

Further back, Matthew Wilson is fifth, with Ott Tanak, Dennis Kuipers and Evgeny Novikov in positions 6 through to 8. Novikov slipped behind Kuipers in SS20 after losing power and the two are now split by just 0.9 seconds. Ken Block and Armindo Araujo complete the top ten.

Wales Rally GB now draws to a close with a repeat-run through this morning's three tests.

SS21, Halfway 2, is due to start at 10.36 hours local time. The Power Stage, SS23, gets underway at 12.11 hours local time.



Wales Rally GB: Overall standings after Stage 20 - Top 10:

1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC 3hours 02mins 35.2secs M
2. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 19.5secs M
3. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06mins 31.0secs
4. Kris Meeke MINI WRT John Cooper Works +06mins 52.3secs
5. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 11.7secs M
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 58.7secs
7. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 21.1secs M
8. Evgeny Novikov Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 21.8secs M
9. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +15mins 06.8secs M
10. Armindo Araujo Motorsport Italia MINI John Cooper Works +15mins 46.5secs

Others:

11. Kevin Abbring VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +16mins 23.3secs
12. Haydon Paddon Subaru Impreza STi R4 +16mins 55.6secs
13. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +17mins 52.6secs
14. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza +20mins 05.9secs P
24. Dani Sordo MINI WRT John Cooper Works +37mins 59.5secs


PWRC standings after Stage 20 - Top 3:

1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza 3hours 22mins 41.1secs P
2. Martin Semerad Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +05mins 08.3secs P
3. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +07mins 55.4secs P


Notable retirements:

SS1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Hit a wall and ripped off a wheel M*

SS5. Dani Sordo MINI WRT John Cooper Works Went off*
SS5. Peter van Merksteijn Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRC Went off M
SS6. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off*
SS7. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC Went off M
SS7. Bader Al-Jabri Subaru Impreza Went off P
SS11. Jarkko Nikara Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Went off P

SS12. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC Broken fuel pump M
SS12/13. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC Went off
SS16. Jason Pritchard Subaru Impreza Mechanical P

SS18/19. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Accident on road section M

*denotes re-started under SupeRally


all times unofficial



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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