Ford maintains world championship lead after Mexican double
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team retained the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship after a double points haul in Rally
High altitude and slippery gravel roads in the hills above the rally base of León, 400km north-west of
Hirvonen and Latvala were first and third in the start order on Friday’s opening leg and Hirvonen endured the worst of the conditions. The 29-year-old Finn, winner of the opening round in
Today’s final leg was short and consolidating their positions was the sole target for the Finnish pairings. Latvala deliberately slowed on the final countryside special stage to allow team leader Hirvonen, making his 100th WRC start, to move ahead and take extra points to aid his challenge for the drivers’ title. They ended 27.6sec apart after 21 tests covering 347.55km.
"It was a difficult weekend and after winning in
"I never had the pace to fight for the win, so taking all that into account, I have to be happy with a solid finish. It’s important to keep the points ticking over so early in the season and that’s what we ended up doing here," he added.
Latvala said he was disappointed not to challenge for a podium, but happy with the eventual outcome. "It’s a second good finish for me this season, without mistakes, and that boosts my confidence for the next rally. My speed improved as the weekend went on. My car set-up was too soft initially but when we realised that, it was too late to retain the time we had lost. It was unfortunate we started the weekend with a soft set up after a wet pre-event test.
"I slowed about 500m before the end of the last proper stage to let Mikko move ahead of me. I’m the second driver and that’s my job. It made no difference to the team’s points tally and I was happy to help him," added Latvala.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said it had been ‘one of the most difficult rallies for some time’. "We lost too much time on the first day but we don’t know why. We need to find the reasons, and we will, but at the moment it’s a bit confusing. There’s a lot of work to do but we’ll dig deep and come back fighting. Mikko couldn’t find his confidence on the opening day when he was first on the road. Jari-Matti did a great job for the team, helping Mikko and finishing ahead of our rivals’ second cars. That’s exactly what we asked of him at the start of the season," he said.
Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn said: "We came to
News from other Ford teams
Stobart M-Sport Ford drivers Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor finished sixth in a Focus RS World Rally Car with team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin in 16th.
Round three of the series takes the BP Ford Abu Dhabi squad to the
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 42min 41.7sec
2. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen C4 3hr 43min 05.9sec
3. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 43min 07.0sec
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 44min 29.2sec
5. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 44min 56.8sec
6. H Solberg/I Minor NOR Ford Focus RS 3hr 45min 29.7sec
7. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 3hr 52min 55.1sec
8. X Pons/A Haro ESP Ford Fiesta S2000 4hr 01min 26.1sec
9. M Prokop/J Tomanek CZE Ford Fiesta S2000 4hr 01min 43.7sec
10 A Araujo/R Miguel POR Mitsubishi Lancer 4hr 04min 14.2sec
1. S Loeb 43pts
2. M Hirvonen 37pts
3= J-M Latvala 25pts
3= S Ogier 25pts
5. P Solberg 20pts
6. H Solberg 16pts
1. BP Ford
1. BP Ford
2. Citroen Total 61pts
3. Citroen Junior 32pts
3. Citroen Junior 32pts
4. Stobart M-Sport Ford 28pts
5. Munchi’s Ford 8pts
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