WRC – Wales Rally GB : The Final Showdown

The world famous forests of Wales played host to the finale of the 2011 World Rally Championship last weekend. An extended route this year saw a return to the North of the country, with Day One taking in two runs around the spectacular Great Orme stage in Llandudno, followed by a run through Clocaenog in darkness.

Frenchman Sebastien Loeb secured a record eighth WRC title following the demise of this only challenger Mikko Hirvonen early in the event. Loeb later retired in controversial fashion after a collision with a spectator on a road section.

Popular Finnish pilot Jari-Matti Latvala took victory on the event by a comfortable margin following the retirement of Loeb. Latvala spent much of his early Rallying career in the UK and this together with his flamboyant driving style, make him a firm favourite with the fans here.

Stobart Ford driver Mads Ostberg secured an impressive second place overall, and will be hoping for a full factory drive next season. Ostberg is seen here powering through the river crossing in Sweet Lamb.

Henning Solberg just managed to hold off a charging Kris Meeke to secure a third place finish in his Ford Fiesta WRC.

Popular Mini WRC pilot Kris Meeke narrowly missed out on a podium finish after a small spin on the very last stage. Meeke had been steadily reeling in Henning Solberg over the final day of the event and his disappointment was clearly evident. The last time a UK driver was seen on the podium of Rally GB was the late Richard Burns in 2004.

Another change to the event this year saw the central Service Area move to the Royal Welsh Showground in the town of Builth Wells. Here the Ford team mechanics finish off repairs to the Fiesta of Jari-Matti Latvala.

Citroen pilot Sebastien Ogier caused significant damage to his DS3 WRC after crashing on the very first stage of the event, forcing him to Super Rally and putting him out of contention for overall honours. Ogier managed to battle back to 11th overall, and secured an extra three points by winning the Power Stage.

Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen was the only man capable of preventing Loeb from securing his 8th WRC title. He started the event 8 points in arrears, however a heavy impact with a log-pile early on the second day punctured the Fiesta WRC’s radiator and cruelly forced him out of the event.

Norwegian privateer Petter Solberg was another forced into retirement after an electrical fire on a road section. Solberg is another crowd favourite here in the UK, always 100% committed and often over the ragged edge, Solberg is always spectacular.

Mini WRC driver Dani Sordo was confident of a good finish coming into the event, after a string of solid performances in the first year of competition for the car. Unfortunately Sordo slid wide on the first run through Dyfi West and was forced to retire.

Dutchman Dennis Kuipers battled to a 8th overall in his FERM Power Tools backed Fiesta WRC.

American superstar Ken Block secured a 9th place finish in his Monster Energy Fiesta WRC.

Related posts:

WRC - Sebastien Loeb Dominates at the Rally of Turkey
WRC 2010 Round 5 - Rally New Zealand : Day 3
WRC - ADAC Rally Deutschland Day 3 : A New WRC Record as Sebastien Loeb Takes 8th Successive Victory
WRC - Rallye de France Day 2 : Dominant Loeb Closes on Seventh World Crown
WRC - Rallye de France Day 3 : Loeb Secures 7th WRC Title at Home Rally
WRC - Rally Sweden Day 1 : Ostberg Takes an Unexpected Lead
WRC - Rally Sweden Day 3 : Hirvonen Secures Victory for Ford
Introduction - Rhodri Lewis : Rally is My Passion
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