Wilson: tactics not the answer in Portugal

"Jari-Matti feels comfortable with that role"

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By www.wrc.com

25 March 2011 - 23:07
Wilson: tactics not the answer in (...)

Malcolm Wilson, the head of the factory Ford world rally team, has revealed why he chose not to slow his drivers on the final stage on Vodafone Rally de Portugal earlier today.

Jari-Matti Latvala will head team-mate Mikko Hivonen on Saturday’s stages after they completed day one of the world championship rally in first and second places respectively. Conversely, the rival Citroen squad slowed its drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier to prevent them from having to clean the road of the loose surface gravel on day two.

“We had an excellent test before the rally and our drivers started full of confidence, but I didn’t expect to be first and second given our start positions,” said Wilson at Friday’s final service halt in Faro. “We decided they wouldn’t slow tactically in the final stage, as Mikko didn’t lose as much time as we thought by being first in the start order and cleaning the roads. Jari-Matti feels comfortable with that role tomorrow and didn’t want to give time away.”

Latvala completed day one by going fastest on stage seven, the 21.31-kilometre Felizes test where he crashed heavily in 2009.

“I’ve taken the stone out of my heart with that time,” said the 25-year-old from Finland. “I’m happy for the performance today. In the morning I tried to be smooth not pushing to the maximum but in the afternoon I started to push harder and the times were good, I was really happy with the times.”

“Mikko was not losing so much being first on the road because the cars are different with less power and different tyres than before so they are not cleaning so much,” Latvala continued. “Because of this we decided to keep going flat-out. I’m not worried about the first and second stages on Saturday for the cleaning but the third one will be difficult and I will be losing some time there. We just have to concentrate and do the first two as well as possible and face the fact that I will be losing on the third one.”

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