Jari-Matti Latvala's hopes of winning the 2012 World Rally Championship have taken a massive blow after the Finn was ruled out of the next round of the season in Argentina.
The Ford driver was cross-country skiing as part of his training programme when he suffered a fall earlier this week, which has left the 27-year-old with a broken collarbone.
Latvala has already undergone surgery on the injury but will be forced to miss Argentina in an effort to ensure he is then fully fit to compete in the Acropolis Rally in Greece at the end of May.
“My first concern has obviously been Jari and how best to get his situation resolved so it's right for him,” team boss Malcolm Wilson told the official WRC website. “Now we have taken the decision that it's best for him to miss Argentina so he's 100 per cent fit for the Acropolis, one of the most difficult rallies in the championship, we will look at his replacement for Argentina although we're not currently in a position to make an announcement until Monday at the earliest.”
Who replaces Latvala alongside Petter Solberg
remains to be seen, although Wilson said it wouldn't be an easy to find a replacement of Latvala's quality.
“Finding a replacement won't be an issue [in terms of driver availability],” he said, “but you have to remember a driver of Jari's ability is very hard to replace.”