Ford looked to be in great shape going into the final stage of leg one in Greece, with Jari-Matti Latvala pulling away at the front and Mikko Hirvonen running in third place, which would have given him a very strong road position for Saturday.
But then Latvala went off the road and fell to 11th, while at the same time Citroen's Dani Sordo slowed to let Hirvonen move ahead and force the Finn to run first on the dusty stages tomorrow, while his arch-rival Sebastien Loeb will enjoy the advantage of being third on the starting list.
Back at the service park afterward, Latvala explained the incident to AUTOSPORT.Q. This sounded like a fast corner into a slow corner, you've had problems with those combinations before.Jari-Matti Latvala:
It wasn't quite like that. It was a fast corner into a medium speed then slowing into a slow corner. It wasn't like before. This happened simply because I was pushing harder and I wanted to win the stage and take more time from Dani. Things like this can happen when you are driving like this.Q. Had Malcolm [Wilson, team principal] spoken to you before the stage and told you to push?JML:
No. We spoke this morning. Malcolm told me we had a good position on the road and he told me to use it like we did in Sardinia. I was doing that, but in the end it went a little bit wrong.
It was very frustrating. It's very frustrating for the whole team. It's not good from my side. In the end, I had to get out of the car to tell the spectators how to push, that was when we lost the time. It was only the rear of the car that was in a small ditch.Q. You're 11th on the road tomorrow. That's the perfect place isn't it?JML:
Hmm...it's a good place on the road, but our chance of winning this rally is gone. There's no way I can catch more than three minutes back.Q. If you can't win, what can you do?JML:
I can push to get in the points, but then again, do I want to push too hard and use the tyres? Tomorrow is when you need to save the tires, if I use them too much, it's not going to work.Q. Can Mikko still win this event?JML:
I don't know. It's not an easy situation for him.