Ford will stand by Jari-Matti Latvala and keep him in the works team for the Rally Finland despite his last stage crash in Poland yesterday.
Latvala had been following team-mate Mikko Hirvonen home for a Ford one-two that was set to revitalize the squad's chances in the manufacturers' championship. But he was forced to retire after hitting a corner-marking barrel on the final short superspecial and breaking his steering, which then sent his Ford Focus WRC into a second impact with the opposite barrier.
Team boss Malcolm Wilson admitted that Latvala's error was an enormous blow to Ford but said there were no plans to replace him.
"He has given us another mountain to climb," Wilson told AUTOSPORT. "We're back to square one with Jari-Matti. He's going to do Finland, which is another vote of confidence in him from the team.
"It's so frustrating. Who would think this could happen on a superspecial? It's certainly his biggest mistake ever. Another frustrating part is that it's another accident in a slow corner."
Latvala's second season with the factory Ford team has been littered with errors, including the ferocious crash in Portugal that saw his car roll down the side of a cliff. He redeemed himself with victory in Sardinia, recovered to third in Greece despite tumbling down the order after an error on day one, and then felt he had made a breakthrough with his approach to Poland until the incredible events of yesterday's superspecial.
In an emotional television interview immediately after the crash, Latvala had said he would understand if the team sacked him because of the incident.
"This is the biggest mistake I've made," he said. "I have disappointed the whole Ford group and the Ford motor company. We were going to have a one-two, and with this disappointment I can't bring any benefit to the team. I understand really if they don't want me to carry on with the team."
The result means that Ford still trails Citroen by 17 points in the manufacturers' championship, having been set to reduce the gap to just eight before Latvala went out, while Hirvonen is ahead of Sebastien Loeb by one point in the drivers' title race.