Jari-Matti Latvala was left devastated following his error on the final stage of Rally Poland on Sunday, a mistake that cost him the runners-up spot - and Ford eight crucial manufacturers' points.

Latvala had put in a great performance in his BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team-run Focus RS WRC and he had backed up team-mate and eventual winner, Mikko Hirvonen all the way - or rather almost all the way.

Indeed it all went drastically wrong for the 24-year-old with the finish in sight and his third podium in as many events seemingly in the bag.

However it wasn't to be as he hit a barrel and broke the steering on his Focus on the repeat run through the short 2.50 kilometre Mikolajki super special.

Despite trying to push the car to the finish, and despite completing a whole lap, Latvala and co-driver, Miikka Anttila eventually had to concede defeat and stop.

The gaff meant that instead of Ford picking up 18-points and closing to within 6 of Citroen in the manufacturers' championship, they now slip further behind - with 17 points separating the two with just four rounds left to go in Finland, Australia, Spain and Britain.

"It was my mistake. I wasn't driving too quickly but I turned into the bend too early and clipped an oil barrel which was full of sand," Latvala explained.

"The impact broke the steering and I couldn't turn into the next bend and hit the barrier on the opposite side of the road.

"I've let down the team and damaged Ford's dream of winning the manufacturers' title this year."

Latvala was clearly gutted by the accident and admitted that wouldn't blame Ford if they wanted to get rid of him.

"I have disappointed the whole Ford group and the Ford motor company," Latvala added in an interview on the official WRC website.

"We were going to make a one-two, and with this disappointment I can't bring any benefit to the team. I understand really if they don't want me to carry on with the team. I understand that."

Meanwhile Ford boss Malcolm Wilson, while 'heartbroken' by the incident, has insisted that Latvala will be in action for the M-Sport-run squad in four weeks time, when the fight for the World Rally Championship resumes with the Neste Oil Rally Finland.

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