Latvala out of Manx International but Focus proves its worth on The Manx International Rally came to an abrupt end on the Isle of Man this afternoon for M-Sport's youngest customer, Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn was lying second overall when he...
Latvala out of Manx International but Focus proves its worth on
The Manx International Rally came to an abrupt end on the Isle of Man this afternoon for M-Sport's youngest customer, Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn was lying second overall when he overshot a junction during SS 15 Lough Doo 2, putting his Ford Focus RS nose first into a bank.
"Unfortunately the damage to the front of the car was such that we were unable to continue. I am most disappointed for my team who have put in so much work this weekend to get me here,"
Prior to the accident, 18-year-old Latvala had put in an amazing performance during leg one and leg two despite never having run on the specialist stages before. As well as amazing spectators and other competitors by setting four fastest stage times , he only twice dropped lower than a top five stage time because of heavy rain.
"During the first run through the historic Castletown stage last night the rain was bad -- I couldn't see much of the road at all and ended up twelfth fastest. However on the second run through I was able to get a clearer run despite the rain and probably surprised myself more than anyone else by setting the fastest time,"
"I have very much enjoyed the 'battle' between myself, Jonny Milner and Tapio Laukkanen as we have been vying for the top three places on the leader board since the start line. The Focus has been running perfectly all weekend and even though I personally have never driven on surfaces like this before, the combination of a skilled gravel crew and an amazing suspension set up have shown everyone that the Ford Focus is incredibly competitive on this type of tarmac," said Latvala.
The tarmac roads of the Isle of Man are unlike any others in the championship. M-Sport Director Malcolm Wilson said the suspension setting run by Latvala in the Manx International Rally has been especially developed by M-Sport for these types of conditions.
"The road surfaces on the Isle of Man are similar to those in Ireland -- but they're about the only two places in the world that suit this type of suspension. Over the past two years we have done considerable testing in Ireland to fine tune the set up, which is related more to a gravel specification than a traditional tarmac specification, and the results we've seen over the past two days speak for themselves," said Mr Wilson.
Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Mikka Anttila will now return to Finland to prepare for the Neste Rally Finland reconnaissance which starts on Monday.