Petter Solberg won his third consecutive Rally of Great Britain after a nail-biting battle with Sébastien Loeb. The Subaru star seized the lead on Sunday’s penultimate stage and won by just 6,3 seconds.

Petter Solberg won his third consecutive Rally of Great Britain after a nail-biting battle with Sébastien Loeb. The Subaru star seized the lead on Sunday’s penultimate stage and won by just 6,3 seconds.


"It's been the hardest finish to a rally that I can remember," said Solberg. "But one of the best. Sébastien is determined, a very good driver, but he's also a really nice guy and really good fun to fight with.


The Norwegian edged ahead of his French rival in Sunday's final run of the long 30,30km Margam when Loeb made a small error. The Frenchman did what he could to match Solberg on the slippery conditions of the wet gravel roads, which again, even with an earlier date, were the scene of this year's Rally of Great Britain.


Loeb led by 7,3 seconds at the start of the day after Solberg pushed hard on the second day to catch the overall leader's Xsara.


"This is a good result for the sport and we put on a great show, but it wasn't easy task for me today. On the first part of Margam it was very slippery,” Solberg said. “I hit rocks and everything, but when it dried out I thought I had to go for it and absolutely nailed it. I tried everything and luckily it worked out."


After a miserable second day, Markko Martin fought off a challenge from Citroën's Carlos Sainz to take the final podium spot.


The final day started well for the overall points leader in Wales as Loeb set the fastest time on the SS16 opening stage for leg three. However, Solberg reduced Loeb’s overall lead to 3,5 seconds on the second run of the Rhondda (SS17).


The came the penultimate 27,55km stage - Loeb had the lead on split-times in the early portion of the second run of Margam, but fell back and lost 9,2 seconds to Solberg.


"I made a tiny mistake when I braked a bit late in a right corner in second gear," said Loeb. "I had to use the first gear and I went wide by two or three meters. I estimate the loss to be 2 seconds there. Next, I continued to push as hard as I had during the rest of the weekend without feeling anything wrong with the car."


Solberg gained two championship points on Loeb with the win, but Loeb still has the clear edge with 92 points to the 2003 WRC champion's 64. Martin is back in third with 59, followed by Sainz at 55 points. Citroen has now also built a comfortable lead in the battle for the manufacturers' title, with 150 points to Ford's 112.