Jari-Matti Latvala has said he will put the disappointment of Sardinia to the back of his mind now and concentrate on ending his career at Ford on a high in Spain next month.
Latvala had been hoping to challenge for the victory on the penultimate round in the 2012 World Rally Championship, but his decision to run first on the road on Thursday backfired, leaving him down in sixth - 42.1 seconds off the leader. It then went from bad to worse on the second leg and in SS4 he went out after hitting a gatepost. He was eventually classified in 12th, having re-started on the third day under the Rally 2 rules.
“I'm pleased I've had the opportunity to regain my confidence over the last two days after my accident,” Latvala said. “That was important, because I want to be ready for Spain. Sardinia is one of my favourite rallies and I had every chance to fight for an overall win but it went wrong. I will now put this to the back of my mind.”
Team-mate Petter Solberg meanwhile also had a bad event and he too went out on day two, after hitting a rock in SS7. The Norwegian finished ninth in the end and while that wasn't much to write home about, the 1-2 in the Power Stage, with Solberg completing the test 0.4 seconds up on Latvala, did at least give the official Ford team some happiness following a disappointing weekend and a tough week in general.
“To finish first and second [in the Power Stage] means both [Petter and Jari-Matti] gained something from the weekend, and that will help their preparations for Spain. Neither enjoyed a good rally, but our young private drivers – Evgeny Noviko, Ott Tanak and Mads Ostberg - took advantage and they really stepped up to the mark here,” Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson said.
Ford Racing senior manager Gerard Quinn added: “At the end of a week in which Ford announced its exit from the WRC, it was extremely disappointing to see the early exit of Jari-Matti and Petter from the rally. Conditions proved tricky, as the many top drivers that hit trouble can testify.
“It's positive to see the Fiesta RS WRC finish in podium positions in the hands of privateer drivers Evgeny Novikov and Ott Tanak though.
“I'm confident this is a glimpse of the future stars of the World Rally Championship.”