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
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Jari-Matti Latvala
Author David Evans
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021