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Ford enjoys strongest day in Sardinia

Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson insisted that Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen had given the Blue Oval its best performance of the World Rally Championship season to date in Sardinia after retaining first and second during day two of the event.

Latvala went into the day holding a 40 second lead but was faced with the prospect of sweeping the road for the cars behind. While he saw Hirvonen close that gap to less than ten seconds, the young Finn produced a solid run through the day's stages to take the lead into the final day of the event.

Hirvonen meanwhile posted two quickest stages time while running second on the road and is a comfortable second after Sebastien Loeb ran into problems, leading to the prospect of the Ford pair fighting for victory on the final day.

"It has been the best performance of the year so far,” Wilson said. “Both have driven fantastically well, especially given the disadvantage of their start position, and stayed out of trouble on the rough stages. It will be hard for Jari-Matti to stay ahead of Mikko as he must sweep the roads again, but the most important thing is to retain first and second."

Latvala himself has come under plenty of pressure this season after a series of below-par results, but he admitted he had benefitted from the experience of running first on the road and wasn't discounting his chances of holding on for victory.

"Today was almost perfect, apart from a small spin at a junction in an asphalt section of the penultimate stage," he said. "I drove as well as I could in those conditions and expected to lose more time. It was hard to judge the braking points this morning because as first car into the stages, there were no marks to help me. Running first was good for my experience and I needed to learn how to drive in those conditions.

"The gap to Mikko is very small and it will be hard for me to hold him off tomorrow as I will again open the stages. I would have liked a lead of about 25sec tonight, or to be behind Mikko and force him to do the cleaning role that I had to do today. But if I can drive like I have today then a win isn't out of the question."

Hirvonen meanwhile insisted his aim for the final day was clear – to try and secure his first victory of the year.

"I'm going for the win tomorrow," he said. "The situation looks good now. I took time from Jari-Matti today and he must clean the roads again tomorrow. It has been a great rally so far, but tomorrow won't be straight forward and it's easy to make a simple, but costly, mistake here.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (fin) Mikka Anttila (fin) Ford Focus RS Wrc BP Ford Abudhabi WRT
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Hiroki ARAI (JPN) - Glenn MACNEALL (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5, Tommi Mäkinen Racing
12.02.2017 - Alexey LUKYANUK (RUS) - Alexey ARNAUTOV (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Jarosław KOLTUN (POL) - Ireneusz PLESKOT (POL) Ford Fiesta R5, C‐Rally
12.02.2017 - Eyvind BRYNILDSEN (NOR) - Anders FREDRIKSSON (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 Adapta Motorsport AS
12.02.2017 - Podium WRC 2, 1st place Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport, 2nd place Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Henning Solberg (NOR)- Ilka Minor (AUT) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
12.02.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team

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jeff - Unregistered

May 23, 2009 9:32 PM

Congratulation guys to have ridiculized the bandit Loeb who ashamed WRC and citroen by his unloved tactics.... he is distroying WRC enthusiasm like mad Max Mosley is distroying F1



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