Ford has revealed that Mikko Hirvonen's first-stage accident on Rally Finland was caused by driver error.
The team spent much of last night checking through the data from the accident, which has left the Finn 36th overall and more than two minutes off the lead, and could find nothing amiss with the engine. Hirvonen's initial report was that he had lost power from the engine, making it impossible for him to get through the corner.
Hirvonen went off the road and into a tree, which damaged the right-rear corner of the Fiesta. There was further damage through the next two stages and the Ford arrived in service with only front-wheel drive and three brakes.
"There's nothing wrong with the engine," said Wilson. "The only thing we could find was a residual brake pressure, but does this come when you hit the tree and knock the brake caliper and disc off?"
Wilson said the data from the other Fiesta RS WRCs had offered an insight into the incident.
"Mikko was 20km/h quicker than Jari Ketomaa and Jari-Matti Latvala and 0.8sec later braking for the corner – I can show you that on the data. Ketomaa and Jari both had a moment and he's 20kph faster...?"
Despite the two-minute gap, Wilson said Hirvonen can still produce a result from the next two days.
"It's not all over yet, but he's made himself a very difficult job," said Wilson. "There's two minutes and he's got two days to make them up. Sebastien Loeb pulled a minute back in a day, Mikko can pull two back in two days, he's got a great starting position."
Wilson admitted to frustration about Hirvonen's second accident in as many years in Finland.
"You can imagine how I feel," he said. "We'd talked about it and we agreed he wasn't going to go out and build a 25-second lead in two stages, we'd talked about where we wanted him to run on the road for day two."