Jari-Matti Latvala offered to relinquish Ford number one status after Portugal crash

Ford team director Malcolm Wilson has revealed that Jari-Matti Latvala was ready to give up his number one status in the squad following his third mistake from four rallies in Portugal last week

Jari-Matti Latvala offered to relinquish Ford number one status after Portugal crash

The Finn crashed out of the lead of the Rally of Portugal on Friday. With Sebastien Loeb already out, a victory would have played Latvala right back into the fight for this year's World Rally Championship. Latvala's team-mate Petter Solberg also crashed, but he returned to finish third and is now closest to series leader Loeb; Solberg trails the Frenchman by four points while Latvala is 38 down on the defending champion.

Wilson declined the Finn's offer to support Solberg and says Latvala retains his full support.

"Jari did actually offer [to step down as number one]," said Wilson. "He said he accepted that maybe the time had come [for a change of tactic]. But the way out of this is to give him as much support as I possibly can - and that's what I intend to do. For me, he's the only driver in a straight fight who can take the fight to Sebastien and beat him. And, for us to win championships, we have to win rallies.

"Granted, three mistakes from four rallies is not good, but again he has proved he's the quickest guy at the moment and I've been in the sport long enough to know that it's coming. There's nothing to say he's not going to win the next four rallies - it's happened in the past. Remember when Colin [McRae] went a very long time without finishing a rally and then, bang, he won three rallies on the trot in 2001."

Wilson added that the key to Ford's season now was to remain together as a team.

"This shouldn't have happened," said Wilson, "but I know that Jari's got the ability to bounce back and the most important thing is that we are a team. If we suddenly start splitting within the team then we are finished and we will not have that happen. It's times like this that he knows he can rely on me and the team around him."

While Wilson continues to support Latvala, he says he will reassess the team's tactics at the mid-point of the season based on the championship position.

"The strategy doesn't change," he said. "If we do [get to the mid-point of the season] and the situation is the same then of course we will change."

shares
comments
Mads Ostberg now wants 'real' victory after getting Portugal win following Mikko Hirvonen's disqualification
Previous article

Mads Ostberg now wants 'real' victory after getting Portugal win following Mikko Hirvonen's disqualification

Next article

Q & A: Jari-Matti Latvala on Rally of Portugal disaster

Q & A: Jari-Matti Latvala on Rally of Portugal disaster
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
5 h
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022