Wilson upbeat about 2012 season start

Ford World Rally Team chief happy with Fiesta RS WRC pace

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By Franck Drui

21 March 2012 - 04:53
Wilson upbeat about 2012 season (...)

Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson remains upbeat about the pace his drivers have shown, despite Jari-Matti Latvala failing to finish two of the first three rallies.

Three rounds in to the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia, Ford trails the Citroen World Rally Team by 38 points and in the race for the drivers’ title, Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen are one-two for the French manufacturer. Petter Solberg is Ford’s highest place driver in third place, three points adrift of Hirvonen and 19 down on Loeb. Latvala is fifth in the standings, 40 down on the eight-time champion.

Solberg has scored podiums on two of his three starts for the British team, but Latvala crashed his factory Fiesta RS WRC out of Rallye Monte-Carlo and the recent Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

Talking about the team’s start to the season, Wilson said: “Yes, there have been some mistakes, but the big thing is the pace we have shown on gravel - and, of course with Jari’s win in the snow. Last year we struggled in Mexico, but this time we had more fastest times [than Citroen] and both guys led the event. For sure, Jari made a mistake, but he’s a different driver now; I have no doubt he’ll put this behind him in Portugal.”

Latvala won the second round of the championship, Rally Sweden.

Ford will have its work cut out on the Vodafone Rally of Portugal - the Blue Oval has never won the event out of its Faro base and has only won in Portugal three times since 1973.

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