BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala managed to make up for his 'screw up' on Friday by recovering to take third on the Acropolis Rally of Greece on Sunday.

Latvala had got off to a great start and was leading Citroen's Dani Sordo by just over 10 seconds, when he slid into a ditch in the final stage on the opening day and dropped down to eleventh.

That put him on the back-foot, but thanks to a combination of good times and the misfortune that struck some of his key rivals, the Finn hauled himself back into contention and ended day two in P3.

He then held that position all the way to the finish and with second-placed Sebastien Ogier not nominated to score manufacturers' points, Ford still took the maximum 18-points, something that allowed the 'Blue Oval' to cut Citroen's advantage in the manufacturers' championship to 15 points.

"It's a big relief to take third," Latvala reflected. "The rally started really well. We looked good after SS5 but then I screwed it up in SS6. And I also screwed up the team's tactics and loaded pressure onto Mikko.

"I thought I had lost everything on Friday evening. A place on the podium was never in my dreams but others made mistakes and their cars broke and that's exactly what I achieved at the end.

"My strategy yesterday was to save the tyres, save the car and drive round the rocks and it paid off. This rally required respect and the result is so important for me and the team from the championship perspective. We were a bit lucky though to get onto the podium."

Pressed on if he can now rise to the challenge and become the strong and consistent second driver that Ford so desperately need, Jari-Matti pledged that that is definitely his goal.

"I can become and I will become that," he continued. "Friday evening, when I see how quick Sordo is coming, I made a wrong decision.

"We went off and got a little bit stuck. We got some spectators to help us, but we lost three and a half minutes. It was a big disappointment, but once again, I have learned something new."

Latvala's co-driver, Miikka Anttila meanwhile concurred that the pressure was on after the error in Thiva 2.

"After Friday we got some... feedback from the management! It was fair feedback and we thought: 'Okay, we know we have screwed up, but now we have to payback'. We have to be worthy of the trust the team has put to us. We made a strategy on Saturday morning that was, we won't be fastest on the road, but we will be more reliable and that worked on the stages," Anttila concluded.


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