Latvala vows to learn from error

Jari-Matti Latvala has vowed to learn from the accident that cost him a shot at Acropolis Rally victory - and briefly jeopardised Ford's chances in the event - and is adamant that he can become the reliable number two driver his team needs

Latvala vows to learn from error

The Finn led the first day in Greece and was trying to extend enough of a lead to have a cushion on Saturday when he would be running first on the road. But he went off on Friday's final stage and fell to 11th. The other consequence of the crash was that his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was elevated into the lead and would have to clean Saturday's stages.

In the event, the accident was of little consequence to Ford as both Citroens retired on day two and Latvala was able to recover to third, which gave his team maximum manufacturers' points as second-placed Sebastien Ogier was not registered to score.

Latvala had restored his confidence with victory in the previous rally in Sardinia after a torried start to the year, but admitted that he had misjudged his tactics on Friday and should not have been pushing so hard.

"When I see how quick [Dani] Sordo was coming, I made a wrong decision," he said. "I thought I needed more gap. It felt perfect on that stage. It was a big disappointment, but once again, I have learned something new.

"We started as we finished in Sardinia, but after SS6, I knew the situation, I can't win. It's not the time to be fastest; it's the time to be clever. I have learned something more."

He said he immediately realised how costly the error could be for his team, but could not afford to waste time catigating himself when he needed to focus on making up the lost ground.

"We looked good after SS5 and I screwed it up in SS6. And I also screwed up the team's tactics and loaded pressure onto Mikko," said Latvala.

"I could do no more than forget about that and concentrate on the rest of the rally. I knew I could rescue something."

Team boss Malcolm Wilson had been highly critical of Latvala after his error, but said the incident was now in the past as far as Ford was concerned.

"There's been enough talk about Friday's incident and I'm really relieved to see the way they have pulled back and delivered the perfect result," Wilson said.

"As we always said, to be in a strong position we need both of our guys performing at their best, like they were in Sardinia. We nearly got that here on Friday night, but we got it back."

When asked if he was confident that he could become the reliable second driver Ford needs for its title bid, Latvala replied: "If I can't be, then I can stop... I can become and I will become."

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