Mexico preparations continue for Ford

Despite Latvala test crash

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By www.wrc.com

17 February 2011 - 19:02
Mexico preparations continue for (...)

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team chief Malcolm Wilson says he is confident that Jari-Matti Latvala’s testing crash in Portugal last night won’t affect his squad’s preparations for Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

Latvala was undertaking a gravel test near Tavira, east of Faro, when he left the road and rolled several times.

Although both Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila were uninjured, damage to their Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s roll cage was too great to allow them to continue testing.

However, a replacement car is currently being transported from the team’s base in Cumbria, northern England, to the test venue in southern Portugal to enable Latvala’s team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, to test for two days as planned on Saturday and Sunday. Hirvonen leads the WRC drivers’ standings following his victory on Rally Sweden at the weekend.

“Hopefully this shouldn’t disrupt our gravel preparation for Mexico,” said Wilson. “Both [Mikko and Jari-Matti] said in Sweden that the shorter wheelbase Ford Fiesta RS WRC reacts more quickly and makes it harder to drive and Jari-Matti has discovered this in Portugal.”

Latvala flew back to his native Finland today but will be back behind the wheel of the Fiesta on Monday, when the test will conclude, to help restore his confidence ahead of the World Rally Championship resuming in Mexico early next month.

The crash in Portugal was Latvala’s second major accident this season following his high-speed off testing in Sweden last month. However, the 25-year-old proved he had suffered no lasting effects from that incident after claiming an impressive third-place finish on Rally Sweden behind fellow Fiesta RS WRC drivers Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg.

Rally Guanajuato Mexico is based in the city of Leon and runs from 3-6 March. It forms round two of the 2011 WRC season.

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