17 Sep 2012

Latvala wins in Wales, Loeb heading for ninth title

6:01 am on 17 September 2012

Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala has won the Rally of Britain while Citroen's Sebastien Loeb moved closer to a ninth successive world title after winning a knife-edge battle for second place in Wales.

Latvala's victory, the Ford driver's second straight in Britain and his first for seven months, ended a run of five in a row by Frenchman Loeb dating back to Argentina in April.

Norwegian Petter Solberg was third for Ford, just 0.9 seconds behind Loeb after 325 kilometres and 19 stages.

With three rounds remaining, Loeb has 219 points to Citroen team mate Mikko Hirvonen's 158 and the champion looks likely to wrap up his defence of the title on home asphalt in France next month.

Hirvonen, fifth on the final day but winner of the closing power stage for three bonus points, is now the only man who can deny Loeb mathematically and the chances of him ruining the French party are remote.