Sebastien Ogier defeated Jari-Matti Latvala to win the Jordan Rally by just 0.2 seconds in the World Rally Championship's closest ever finish.
Citroen and Ford's rising stars went into the deciding Baptism Site power stage just half a second apart, with Latvala having taken the lead with one stage to go. But Ogier set the fastest time through the finale stage and managed to edge back ahead of his rival to claim his second consecutive victor, and become the WRC's first double winner of 2011.
"Incredible, incredible day," said Ogier. "I had to push like hell today because Jari-Matti was so fast."
Ogier had taken the lead early on Friday, when the rally got underway a day later than planned due to the litany of logistical problems that forced the cancellation of all of Thursday's stages. While his main rivals backed off at the end of yesterday's second loop to avoid any chance of running first on the road today, Ogier kept his foot down and charged into a 31sec lead.
As he maintained a cushion over the chasing pack this morning it looked like his tactic would pay off. But then Latvala found more speed on the final loop, and charged past Ogier to take the lead on the penultimate stage, only for the Frenchman to fight back and take an astounding win.
Ogier's SS20 time was also sufficient to win the power stage, giving him three extra bonus points.
His Citroen teammate Sebastien Loeb was fighting for the win until handling issues on the final few stages convinced him to settle for third place. Petter Solberg was also in the hunt for a podium at least in the Solberg Citroen, but crashed out this morning.
A nightmare Friday of running first on the road and later struggling with power steering issues consigned Mikko Hirvonen to a lonely fourth in the other Ford, though he was buoyed by the pace he showed on a trouble-free final day.
A puncture from a brush with a rock on penultimate stage Mahes cost Kimi Raikkonen a likely fifth place, allowing Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson to get ahead of the Ice 1 Citroen. Raikkonen still felt that this had been one of his strongest World Rally Championship outings yet.
Wilson was the only Stobart driver in the top 10, as his team-mates Henning Solberg and Mads Ostberg had to use superally after an impact with a rock and a gearbox failure respectively.
In the S2000 class, Nasser Al-Attiyah dominated until an engine problem this morning, which allowed Bernardo Sousa to take the category win and 10th overall despite suspension issues in the closing stages.
Leading finishers after SS20:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 2h48m28.2s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 0.2s
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 27.7s
4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 2m44.7s
5. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 5m44.9s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 6m14.9s
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford + 9m18.7s
8. Khalid Al Qassimi Abu Dhabi Ford + 9m43.7s
9. Dennis Kuipers Ferm Ford + 14m27.5s
10. Bernardo Sousa Quinta Ford + 15m05.5s
Other WRC finishers:
13. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 17m35.7s
14. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 22m01.7s
Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen SS17
Peter van Merksteijn Van Merksteijn Citroen SS15