BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team director Malcolm Wilson has said that he is 'disappointed' with his #2 driver Jari-Matti Latvala, after the 23-year-old crashed out of the Rally Finland in the second test this morning.
Latvala, who had been running third overall, went off the road following a jump 4 kilometres from the start of the 11.38 kilometre-run through Mokkipera 1, SS3.
Latvala hit the front right of his Focus RS WRC07 in the previous corner and then landed in a ditch on the following jump, the initial impact having broken the car's front right steering arm. Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila both escaped uninjured, but they were unable to continue.
"You know, I knew something would happen. I had a feeling last night when I went to bed. I am very disappointed," said Wilson Sr. "Jari-Matti's first stage time I thought was just perfect. Not lightning quick but certainly up there. I can only think he must have thought: 'Right that is my first stage carefully done; now I can go for it'.
"He damaged the steering on a bend and then on the next jump it broke completely ending in a big accident. I have spoken to him but it wasn't a very long conversation. He hit a rock - a rock which sounds like it's about half the size of a car - and while all of the other drivers had this rock marked in their notes, Jari-Matti didn't. He made a fundamental mistake in making his pace notes by not including that rock.
"It's another wasted rally for him and not good for our manufacturers' championship. You don't win this event without experience. But you've got to remember that he is only 23."
Latvala meanwhile was very apologetic for his error and he will at least be able to re-start on Saturday under the SupeRally in order to gain experience of the stages for next year, something that is a small consolation.
His chances of getting back into the points though are virtually zero, as he more than 40 minutes off the top ten now.
"I just thought this can't be happening to me again. I felt relaxed this morning and felt really confident in the opening stage and the early part of the next. I want to continue so that I can get my confidence back," added Jari, who also retired on day 1 on his home event last year too.
"I'm very, very sorry for the team. I couldn't see the rock as it was in the shadow of a farm building. I just didn't see it. I thought it was a puncture. But then over the crest, we went off the road and the car half-rolled. It's not good. I'm so sorry for the team," he reiterated.
Latvala wasn't the only World Rally Car driver to retire on day 1 however, as Mads Ostberg also went out when he went off the road in his Adapta-run Subaru Impreza WRC in SS6, while the final loop claimed Citroen privateer Urmo Aava and Ramsport Ford runner Andreas Mikkelsen. It is not yet known if any of these drivers' will be able to re-start along with Jari on Saturday.