Q & A: Ford boss on Hirvonen's crash

Ford's lead driver Mikko Hirvonen was pulling away from the field in Finland when he had a massive accident on the fourth stage of the rally

Q & A: Ford boss on Hirvonen's crash

Afterwards team principal Malcolm Wilson talked AUTOSPORT through the dramatic crash.

Q. What happened?

Malcolm Wilson: They've gone too far and too far sideways after the big jump. Mikko hasn't been able to get the lock back off and they rolled. It happens, doesn't it? It's one of those things. It was one of Mikko's favourite places and it looks as though he's just jumped a bit too far.

Q. They're both okay though?

MW: Yes, they're fine. They have been back here and they're now going to hospital for a check-up.

Q. Strictly a check-up?

MW: Yes, yes. They're fine.

Q. And the car?

MW: People tell me it's not too good. It wasn't a flat-out place, but it was fifth gear.

Q. It was looking good this morning...

MW: It was, yes. It's great, the performance was better even than last year. Look at the margin he pulled out, it was very encouraging, but obviously he was just a bit too quick [in that corner]. This shows, though, that we are back on the pace and Jari[-Matti Latvala] is still in a good position. He's made a couple of small mistakes this morning, but he's got the pace this morning. Let's see.

Q. What does this mean for the manufacturers' championship?

MW: It's very difficult now. It's early days, let's see what happens. Sebastien [Loeb] is obviously struggling with that and we haven't been able to capitalise on that, but the pace was there and we were leading the rally.

Q. You said yesterday both the drivers would be going flat-out from the start, was that the right decision?

MW: We needed to win this rally. It's as simple as that. I told you before the start we needed both cars on the podium. The next thing we can hope for is that we're going to win the rally with one car. I always said there was going to be more pressure with this event only being two days. We've seen the first casualty and I'm sure there'll be more.

Q. Jari-Matti can still win though?

MW: I don't see any reason why not, yes. He's made a couple of little mistakes that he knows about. We will maybe make a couple of small spec changes when he gets to service.

Q. Are they to speed the car up?

MW: They're to give him a bit better feeling in certain conditions.

Q. Does this put more pressure on him?

MW: No. In one sense for him it's a little bit different, he doesn't have to fight another Finn in his his own team on his home event. It might make him a little bit more relaxed.

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