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GP Week : Issue 149
LATVALA TO MISS ARGENTINA Who will replace the fast Finn? Ford factory star Jari-Matti Latvala is out of Rally Argentina after a training mishap. Seventeen days after entries officially closed, the FIA had finally approved the list of the 45 competitors entered for Rally Argentina, round five of the 2012 world championship, when news came through that Latvala would not start! An accident in cross-country skiing had resulted in a broken collar bone, leaving the Ford team to start a hunt for a suitable replacement driver... Surgeons have inserted seven pins in Jari’s left collarbone to speed recovery. The team hope Jari-Matti will be fit to compete in Rally Acropolis at the end of May. The accident happened last Wednesday at the Levi ski resort near Kittila in North Finland when Latvala took time out from an appointment with his former Ford teammate Mikko Hirvonen. They had gone to compete in a celebrity snow race, driving 150hp cross-karts. Jari-Matti is the second M-Sport driver currently out of action, each due to extra- mural activities which went wrong. M-Sport’s test driver Matthew Wilson is still recovering from a smashed ankle incurred whilst mountain jogging. M-Sport say that a replacement driver should be selected early in this week. Initial favourite to replace Latvala is Mads Ostberg, but making a change is not so easy, as Mads’ father-manager Morten explained: “Many possible replacement drivers, including Mads, have already been nominated by other registered teams for Rally Argentina. Sponsorship agreements have been made on the basis their normal drivers will be competing for them, and FIA manufacturers registrations were made on that basis. Maybe it is time to ask Marcus Gronholm to come back again?”. Chris Atkinson, who drove a Monster team Fiesta WRC in Mexico cannot enter Argentina as this clashes with the New Caledonia APRC event in which he is entered by the MRF Skoda team.At this time, Henning Solberg is not entered for Argentina. The recently published schedule of rallies selected by the various WRC Manufacturers teams shows that all the registered teams have nominated Argentina has one of their rounds. A good and consistent result from Argentina 2012 is of special importance to Ford. If all goes well, it will be the team’s 150th successive rally in which they gained world manufacturers championship points. Spectacular as ever, Latvala later on rolled out of Rally Mexico, and now will miss Argentina aftyer a ski-training accident ... 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: WRC >>> news