Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 15 views remaining

You have read 5 stories this month. After 20, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 20 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.

Andrew Van de Burgt
Editor in Chief

autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
WRC NEWS 

Sebastien Loeb near-certain to be champion as Mikko Hirvonen retires from day one

Mikko HirvonenSebastien Loeb now looks assured of the 2011 World Rally title after Mikko Hirvonen was forced to retire from Friday's stages.

Hirvonen was holding a narrow lead over Loeb as they started SS7 this morning, but sustained damage to his Ford on the Dyfnant stage and lost nearly four minutes, falling to 13th place.

He attempted to get back to the midday service for repairs, only to have to stop on the road section as the damage was too severe.

Loeb's title is not yet totally secure, as Hirvonen could potentially rejoin for tomorrow under superally rules. But even if he is able to do so, the Finn will pick up 20 minutes of penalties for missing this afternoon's stages, so requires a miracle turnaround to get high enough up the order to overcome Loeb's current eight-point lead.

At present, Loeb leads the rally by 17.7s over the remaining works Ford of Jari-Matti Latvala.

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  RELATED STORIES
Latvala clinches GB victory
Loeb 'could not avoid' road collision
Latvala holds big lead after Loeb's exit
Loeb retires after road collision
Latvala surges into Rally GB lead
Loeb edges away from Latvala
Loeb still keen to push for rally win
Ford: Hirvonen's engine too damaged
Loeb clinches title as Hirvonen retires
Loeb leads but Latvala closes in
Q & A: Hirvonen on his GB disaster
Hirvonen still hopes to restart
Ostberg determined to keep podium
DMACK thrilled with pace so far
Loeb pledges to keep pushing
Ford: Hirvonen needs miracle to rejoin
Loeb leads as Hirvonen hits trouble
Loeb disappointed by Ogier crash
Meeke criticises rally organisers
Ogier to rejoin for Friday
Loeb holds narrow lead over Hirvonen
Ogier crashes on opening stage
Solberg came close to skipping GB
Meeke: GB will show Mini's gravel pace
Latvala: Title rivals won't both finish
Loeb upbeat about title chances
Q & A: Hirvonen on title bid
Wilson returns to scene of huge crash
Ford plays down brake glitch
Meeke and Ostberg top shakedown
Loeb to judge pace by Hirvonen
Mini realistic about Wales prospects
Hirvonen predicts final stage decider
Haymarket