Team boss Malcolm Wilson says there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Ford team after a rough few weeks in the World Rally Championship.
The team missed out on victory in Portugal when Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg both went off the road in the challenging conditions, with Latvala then breaking his collarbone in a training accident after the event that has ruled him out of the latest round of the season this weekend in Argentina.
Dani Sordo will therefore join Solberg in South America and Wilson insisted the team was ready to put the recent run of bad news behind it and move forwards.
“There's light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I mean, you can imagine Portugal was a big disappointment for everybody on the team because we were given a good opportunity. I think we were lucky to come away with some good points. And we were obviously really looking forward to here as well, because we were really competitive in Mexico and these are two places where we've probably struggled a bit in the past. But then of course I got the phone call about Jari. So obviously the priority was to make sure we could make him fit for Greece. And then of course the next challenge was to find a replacement for him.
“I think everybody knows we've got a fantastic group of youngsters with Mads [Ostberg], Evgeny [Novikov] and Ott [Tänak] and obviously serious consideration was given to those people. But that presents another problem because if we transferred one of those drivers to the main Ford team we'd still have to find someone else for the customer team. And we obviously looked at all the drivers' history on this event. So, that's the decision that we decided to take with the Championship still in its early days; we tried to find the strongest team that we possibly could.”
Solberg is still chasing his first win since joining Ford at the start of the season while Sordo – effectively 'on loan' from the Prodrive World Rally Team – is still searching for his first success in the WRC, but Wilson said he was hopeful the pair would be in the mix for honours this weekend.
“For sure, we want to try and win,” he said. “We need to win events and that will be the big push, to try and find a way to win this event. I think, as everybody pointed out, it's going be a difficult rally. I don't see it as an endurance rally, but with an extra 160 kilometres, I think then you have to be more mindful of where to push and where not to. I think it's going to be so easy to get caught out, as they say, with so many rocks on the side of the road, but both our drivers will be pushing to try and win the event.”