After a tough Rally Mexico, Ford ended day one of the Jordan Rally in a very strong position, with Jari-Matti Latvala leading by 30 seconds and Mikko Hirvonen fifth but just 12sec from second place. Team boss Malcolm Wilson told told AUTOSPORT how he hoped the weekend would now pan out.
Q. Has today gone to plan?
Malcolm Wilson: I'd say so, yes. What do you think? After Mexico, this looks pretty perfect to me.
Q. There were never any doubts after Mexico, though...
MW: No. Seriously, we didn't have any doubts. Right from the first stage everything has gone well today. Jari has driven really well and, at this point in time, the car's in pristine condition.
We led the rally, we set fastest times and both cars have run without any problems at all. We've run what we believe is the right strategy with the longest day of all coming tomorrow, we've covered all possibilities with Jari in the lead and Mikko in a strong position.
Q. What about Mikko, in fifth position?
MW: We feel we've got him in just about the ideal place. Maybe he lost a wee bit too much in the last sector of that last stage, we'd thought it would be good to be four seconds or so down on Petter [Solberg], but it's fine. The main thing for Mikko today was that he had to finish behind Sebastien [Loeb] and he's done that.
Q. You can control this event, then?
MW: We can, yes. There is going to be more jockeying for position tomorrow, but we can decide Mikko's position tomorrow night for the final day on Saturday. From what I've been told, Saturday is when there's the most cleaning coming on the road, let's see what happens then.
Q. What can Jari-Matti do tomorrow?
MW: Let's see. He didn't do a bad job from where he was on the road today!