Ford stands by Latvala after crash

Ford will stand by Jari-Matti Latvala and keep him in the works team for the Rally Finland despite his last stage crash in Poland yesterday

Ford stands by Latvala after crash

Latvala had been following team-mate Mikko Hirvonen home for a Ford one-two that was set to revitalise the squad's chances in the manufacturers' championship. But he was forced to retire after hitting a corner-marking barrel on the final short superspecial and breaking his steering, which then sent his Ford Focus WRC into a second impact with the opposite barrier.

Team boss Malcolm Wilson admitted that Latvala's error was an enormous blow to Ford but said there were no plans to replace him.

"He has given us another mountain to climb," Wilson told AUTOSPORT. "We're back to square one with Jari-Matti.

"He's going to do Finland, which is another vote of confidence in him from the team.

"It's so frustrating. Who would think this could happen on a superspecial? It's certainly his biggest mistake ever. Another frustrating part is that it's another accident in a slow corner."

Latvala's second season with the factory Ford team has been littered with errors, including the ferocious crash in Portugal that saw his car roll down the side of a cliff. He redeemed himself with victory in Sardinia, recovered to third in Greece despite tumbling down the order after an error on day one, and then felt he had made a breakthrough with his approach to Poland until the incredible events of yesterday's superspecial.

In an emotional television interview immediately after the crash, Latvala had said he would understand if the team sacked him because of the incident.

"This is the biggest mistake I've made," he said. "I have disappointed the whole Ford group and the Ford motor company. We were going to have a one-two, and with this disappointment I can't bring any benefit to the team.

"I understand really if they don't want me to carry on with the team."

The result means that Ford still trails Citroen by 17 points in the manufacturers' championship, having been set to reduce the gap to just eight before Latvala went out, while Hirvonen is ahead of Sebastien Loeb by one point in the drivers' title race.

shares
comments
Teams hope Rally Poland returns

Previous article

Teams hope Rally Poland returns

Next article

Ford's Loriaux calls for simple rules

Ford's Loriaux calls for simple rules
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
12 h
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021