World rally champ Sebastien Loeb crashes with hire car

image captionThe spectator's hire car was damaged

FIA World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb was forced out of the Wales Rally GB - after a crash with a spectator in a hire car.

Loeb's car collided with a Skoda driven by a Spanish spectator in a road section while making his way to the 19th stage at Crychan, near Llandovery.

Loeb was in second place behind the eventual winner, Jari-Matti Latvala.

"We are world champion so no problems," said Frenchman Loeb, reflecting on the accident.

"I moved to the side [of the road] but we are in [Wales] and he is not [Welsh] so he went on the wrong side and we crashed," Loeb told the event website.

Reports from news agencies and the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) website said the vehicle Loeb was in collision with was a hire car belonging to two Spanish fans heading to the stage finish to support their hero Dani Sordo.

Both Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena as well as the driver and passenger in the other car escaped injury but Loeb's Citroen could not go any further.

The incident happened at low speed on a single track road, but the Citroen's radiator was damaged.

The 37-year-old - crowned world champion for the eighth time on Friday - was lying in second overall just over seven seconds behind the eventual winner Jari-Matti Latvala.

image captionSebastien Loeb later claimed his prize at Cardiff Castle

With Loeb out, Latvala and co-driver Mikka Anttila were then able to ease off in the run to the finish to claim a first win in the World Rally Championship for 18 months.

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