Jari-Matti Latvala finally halted a run of five consecutive victories for Sebastien Loeb with a dominant victory in Rally GB.
Loeb though managed to deny a Ford 1-2 by finishing second, and in doing so break into the Castrol EDGE Rankings top five for the first time in 12 months.
Loeb has been on the verge of his advance since Rally New Zealand, when he claimed his fifth win of the year.
As his form improved – in 2011 he claimed five wins across the season – the form of those above him moved in the opposite direction, affected by more unpredictable and varied racing in F1.
Given Mark Webber’s slump to fifth following the Italian Grand Prix, from which the Australian was a late retirement, it appeared inevitable Loeb would gain at least one spot, and so it proved.
Should Loeb have won he would also have jumped Jenson Button but fourth, but he ultimately had no answer to Latvala’s pace.
Victory also provided a Rankings boost for the 27-year-old Finn, who moved up three spots to a 12-month high of 16th.
As Latvala and Loeb therefore made gains, their respective team-mates both slipped down the order.
Ford’s Petter Solberg counted the cost of his 0.9s deficit to Loeb as he fell one place to 49th in the Rankings.
Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile fared far worse. Victories in Australia last year, the round dropped under the rollover system, his losses were compounded by a disappointing display in Rally GB in which he could only finish fifth.
The result was a drop of eight places to 19th, Hirvonen falling behind Latvala and dropping down to third in the WRC Rankings as a result.
Mads Ostberg, the man who bear Hirvonen to fourth, continued his own rise up the Rankings order by jumping three places to an all-time high of 36th.
The 24-year-old Norwegian was 103rd in the Rankings at the end of January this year.
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