Rally Jordan 2011, an event that still plays host to the closest finish in WRC history, was a lively farewell to the Dead Sea gravel loop and also an early chapter in a road order debate that would live on rent-free drivers heads for the remainder of the decade.
The first day of the rally did not take place due to shipping delays and when the event started it was Loeb who led while Ford’s front-runner Hirvonen swept the streets. Ogier caught up as the day progressed and caught up in front of Citroën teammate Loeb.
As expected ahead of the rally, Latvala’s second Ford Fiesta RS WRC, being further down the road, would start the race and two stage wins meant he was chasing the Citroën duo. Whoever was leading at the end of the day had to be the first to run through the two laps on Saturday on the road.
Loeb decided at a time when split times were available for riders during stages that he wouldn’t be and stopped tactically. The idea was to get Ogier to slow down as well to avoid sweeping the road on stage two, but that wasn’t the case as the then 27-year-old was 31.6 seconds ahead Loeb and Have went to bed 33.1 seconds clear of the victory-hungry Latvala.
This set the stage for the drama to come, using segments from day one’s morning stages on day two, making Ogier’s task a little easier. However, Loeb was not consistently fast enough to be a threat for victory, and a speedy Latvala took a few chunks from Ogier with each stage until he was leading by 0.5 seconds with just one stage to go.
Hirvonen set the benchmark time for the Power Stage and Latvala was 0.6s slower as he regretted a few small mistakes and front left tire wear from pushing so hard earlier in the day. If Ogier could match Hirvonen, he would win the rally.
He made it through the 6.52m test in just 0.046s, beating Latvala to victory by 0.2s. A brave decision had been accompanied by a brave drive to achieve a famous victory.