Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala
has set his sights on turning things around after missing out on the victory in Greece.
Latvala, who was back in action after missing the last event due to a broken collarbone, led initially, until an overshoot in SS4 dropped him back to second and behind Citroen's Sebastien Loeb.
He then fought tooth and nail with the Frenchman and was just 2.2 seconds behind when he made a mistake and hit a bank in SS14 on Saturday afternoon. That incident left him with a puncture and he had to stop and fit the spare wheel, losing over 3 minutes and dropping down to fourth. Although he eventually finished third, after team-mate, Petter Solberg
crashed out on Sunday morning, the Finn had mixed feelings at the finish.
“I need to be satisfied in one sense because I said before the rally that I wanted to finish on the podium and I did that,” said Latvala, who won ten stages, the most of anyone runner. “Of course, at the same time though I'm disappointed because I could have won. It's good to be back on the podium after a long time away but I need to push for wins now. That's the only thing I can do.
“It's quite incredible that once again I was leading the rally and looking good, but couldn't convert it into victory.
“I've had too many setbacks like that this year and it's hugely frustrating for the team. I need to iron out the little mistakes and I hope I can turn things round at the next event in New Zealand.”
Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was also disappointed with the outcome of the weekend.
“It was one of the most closely-fought rallies I can recall. We lost Jari-Matti from the battle for the lead but we had a second chance with Petter. To lose him was doubly disappointing. I'm pleased to see Jari-Matti on the podium on his return from injury though and that he had no ill effects,” he remarked.
Ford Racing motorsport manager Gerard Quinn added: “Jari-Matti made a strong return after injury and a podium was the least he deserved given the pace he showed thid weekend. The battle for the lead yesterday was thrilling. Petter, too, challenged for victory and on another day perhaps he would have taken the win. Rallies are won and lost in split second incidents and that's something we saw today.”