Sebastien Loeb has clinched the 2011 World Rally Championship title as Ford confirmed that Mikko Hirvonen is out of Rally GB.
Ford had always suspected that the engine damage sustained when Hirvonen spun and punctured his car's radiator on SS7 this morning would be too severe for him to restart under superally on Saturday morning. Despite the team's best efforts, it has now announced that Hirvonen's rally and title bid are over.
Even if Hirvonen had rejoined, he faced a near-impossible task to stop Loeb winning an eighth straight title as the Citroen driver led the standings by eight points coming to Wales. Had Hirvonen managed to restart, he would have been carrying 25 minutes of penalties for missing today's remaining stages, so was highly unlikely to have scored enough points to overhaul Loeb.
Loeb still leads the rally at present, just one second ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala in the other works Ford.