Latvala returns to victory

Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala (photo) broke the winning streak of five consecutive victories for Sébastien Loebs in the current championship. The Finn defended his win from last years Wales rally and beat runner-up Loeb by 27,8 seconds.

Petter Solberg had a long duel with the Frenchman but had to see himself beat by a measly 0,9 seconds after 19 special stages.

The victory in Wales Rally GB was Latvalas first since the win in Rally Sweden in February. After the success in Sweden the Finn has struggled to find his way back to the top of the podium. In Wales, however, there was never any doubt. Latvala took the lead from the start and kept it all the way to the finish.

– This victory means a lot to me. Rally GB is like my second home event since I started my career here ten years ago and I actually have more experience of this rally than my own rally back in Finland, says a happy Latvala, and adds:

– Wales Rally GB is one of my favourite events and this is the first time in my career that I win an event two years in a row.

Petter Solberg of course hoped to come out on top in his battle with Loeb. He gave almost, but not quite, everything.

– I could have pushed harder, but I didn’t want to gamble since taking two podium positions was important to Ford. More important than ruining a rally by risking all to reach second position, said Petter.

behind Petter came another Norwegian, Mads Østberg. And behind him Mikko Hirvonen, Evgeny Novikov, Thierry Neuville, Matthew Wilson, Martin Prokop and Nasser Al Attiyah claimed positions five to ten.

The next WRC event is held on French tarmac october 4-7.

For complete results from Wales Rally GB – see: www.wrc.com

Photo: Ford/Les Kolczak