Ford has vowed to fight back in Jordan after a tough weekend in Mexico saw Mikko Hirvonen lose his lead in the World Rally Championship standings.

Hirvonen went into the event leading the title race following his win in Sweden, but struggled through the opening day due to running first on the road.

Despite an improved road position on the second and third days, Hirvonen was unable to match the pace of the Citroen drivers ahead and had to settle for fourth place, dropping him behind rally winner Sebastien Loeb in the championship standings.

"It was a difficult weekend and after winning in Sweden I hoped for a better result here," he said. "I'm happy that we scored good points for the team, but I made too many mistakes with my driving. I never really found a good rhythm and I felt I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. When I tried, the car ended up sliding wide and I dropped even more time. I tried lots of different things but I never really found the answer.

"I never had the pace to fight for the win, so taking all that into account, I have to be happy with a solid finish. It's important to keep the points ticking over so early in the season and that's what we ended up doing here."

Hirvonen was aided in his run to fourth by team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala slowing on the final test proper, with his fifth place helping Ford to remain ahead of Citroen in the manufacturers' championship.

However, team boss Malcolm Wilson admitted there were questions to be answered about why the pair hadn't been able to challenge for victory.

"We lost too much time on the first day but we don't know why," he said. "We need to find the reasons, and we will, but at the moment it's a bit confusing. There's a lot of work to do but we'll dig deep and come back fighting.

"Mikko couldn't find his confidence on the opening day when he was first on the road. Jari-Matti did a great job for the team, helping Mikko and finishing ahead of our rivals' second cars. That's exactly what we asked of him at the start of the season."


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