Latvala, the last chance

Jari-Matti Latvala is expected to turn by Ford in Argentina.  (Reuters)


Suffering from going off the track, the consequences could be dramatic in Portugal three weeks ago, Jari-Matti Latvala has rallied to finish just once in four rallies this season. A review necessarily intolerable for a team challenging as Ford. So Malcolm Wilson has had to fix an ultimatum to the Finn.


"If we had had this accident 20 years ago, we probably can not alive." Guilty of a brake late in SS4 Rally of Portugal three weeks ago and left in an appalling series of 17 tons, Jari-Matti Latvala has been quick to measure his luck. "I want to thank the team for having built a car so solid that we emerged with only a few scratches." Thus the race prematurely rejected, the second Finn's Ford team has yet lived where the remake is a sensation of its previous releases, which he three times already this season returned to the garage early.

Except for the Rally Norway in effect when he scored six points on behalf of his team by picking up the eighth podium of his career, Jari-Matti Latvala, now aged 24, was unable to score any update on conventional surfaces. Whether on asphalt Irish tarmac of the earth or sand Portuguese Cyprus, the lining of Mikko Hirvonen was unable to be at the height of his team. A stable yet Ford launched the conquest of a constructors' title for Citroen abandoned last year.

A few hours after his blunder Lusitanian, the firm itself was in fact does no more illusions about his fate: "I know I have disappointed the team was expecting a good result for Citroen in the championship fight. I wished it too, but my many outlets did not help. Malcolm is thinking about what we do after that. Now, everything is open. " A statement made on a serious tone that was so that echoing the reaction of Malcolm Wilson in person: "He will have to make a decision. It's been long since we had not seen a catastrophic start to the season. "

Francois Duval for alternative

Three weeks later, the head of the British structure has made its decision: Jari-Matti Latvala is confirmed in his duties until further notice. In other words, that which is presented there is little the worthy heir of Marcus Gronholm will not have the margin for error this weekend in the Pampa. "I spoke with Malcolm and we agreed that I owed any money to finish the Rally of Argentina, this week explained the Finn on the official website of the WRC. I'm delighted to get fourth place [...] It is important to me and the team to drive safely, pick up points and return of confidence. "

To pave the way to satisfy this last point, Jari-Matti Latvala has not hesitated to resume driving following the outcome of the Rally of Portugal, three days after his terrible accident. "I did 240 km and I had no apprehension. The longer we wait before driving after a crash, the more one thinks about the accident and the more difficult." No doubt the youngest winner of the rally in the history of the WRC (it was in Sweden last season for his second race in the Ford factory team) has also brought a zeal to contribute to review its system of notes as requested by Malcolm Wilson.

If Jari-Matti Latvala once again committed the irreparable this weekend, the track leading to Francois Duval is clearly reactivated. "Last year, we appealed to Francis at certain occasions, and I think he'll have to think about it," Wilson admitted three weeks ago. Freelance luxury for Ford in 2008, the Belgian driver had supplied the Finns in the Rally of Catalonia and the Tour of Corsica, two asphalt rounds that Latvala had raced under the banner of Stobart, his former team. Ironically, Francois Duval had himself been dismissed from Citroen team in 2005, replaced by Carlos Sainz in Turkey and Greece, for its many differences steering ...

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