Xevi Pons has been crowned winner of this year's Super 2000 World Rally Championship after a final round battle on the rain-soaked Wales Rally GB.

Fellow Fiesta S2000 driver Jari Ketomaa's hopes of taking the title were dashed when the Finn rolled his car on Sunday's opening stage.

Pons' third place finish and his 15-point haul meant the Spaniard clinched the title ahead of Patrik Sandell by 12 points. Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop completed this year's SWRC podium line-up, a further seven points behind Sandell.

With only nine points separating Pons, Ketomaa and Sandell prior to the Welsh event, competition was always going to be fierce on the final SWRC encounter.

However, Sandell's challenge for the three-way title scrap faltered with power steering failure on stage five and with no opportunity to repair the fault, the Swede was forced to drive two more stages before service, effectively dropping out of title contention.

A two-way title fight ensued between Pons and Ketomaa and by the end of the first day, Ketomaa was second in SWRC with Pons fourth.

Day two did not bode well for Ketomaa as Pons moved up into third after Eyvind Brynildsen retired on stage eleven. With Pons only one spot behind Ketomaa and the Finn in desperate need of the extra nine points for championship victory, his hopes for the title looked increasingly unlikely.

Eventually Ketomaa's bid for championship glory was ended when he crashed his Ford Fiesta S2000 on Sunday's opening stage. That error consolidated Pons' third place finish and secured him the SWRC title.

"I'm delighted to win the championship!" Pons said. "It was all I cared about this weekend. I hadn't competed on gravel at a WRC event on gravel for four months before Wales so it took me a while to find a good rhythm but I really wasn't too bothered about my final position, all I wanted was to win the title.

"I was driving as fast as I could for most of the weekend and I know I didn't match my pace from Mexico and Jordan but I really didn't care as my end position was enough to win the championship. It's been a great year and I'm so happy to have taken the title this weekend."



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