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WRC Rally: Ford extends championship lead in Mexico

03-06-2008 10:59 AM CET | Sports

Press release from: Castrol UK and Ireland

/ PR Agency: Dildizayn
Rally Mexico: Hirvonen

Rally Mexico: Hirvonen

There was pre-event controversy when the stewards handed Loeb a 5 minute penalty for changing his engine after shakedown and then withdrew it after Citroen reinstalled the repaired unit. Then, on only the first stage, Loeb's team-mate Daniel Sordo retired after smashing his suspension on a rock.

Once again benefiting from a good road position it was Latvala who took the early lead and defended his advantage against the assault from Loeb over the opening day with three stage wins from seven. Hirvonen ended the day fourth after bursting a tyre on a rock but paid tribute to Latvala: "It's hard being beaten by your team-mate but he's driven better than me today."

Latvala's intense battle with triple champion Loeb effectively ended on day two when a broken turbo pipe cost the Finn two minutes in the afternoon. "Maybe it's just not my time to win this rally yet," said Latvala.

With ‘mousse' inserts banned for 2008, a double puncture for Hirvonen was costly. With both spare tyres used he had to drive cautiously to protect the car and get it back to service on four wheels. "My challenge for the final day is to get fourth place back from Henning (Solberg)," he said before the final Leg.

The short final day saw Ford Focuses holding third to seventh with Latvala and Hirvonen winning a stage apiece while one was cancelled for safety reasons. The only change to the leaderboard came on the penultimate stage when Hirvonen passed Solberg for fourth after the Norwegian suffered a puncture. "It was the first bit of good luck I had all rally!" joked the Finn.
Castrol Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected: "This was always going to be a tough event and both Jari-Matti and Mikko were unlucky. Nevertheless they drove well and kept our series lead ahead of Argentina later in the month."

The next event is Rally Argentina from March 28th.

Rally Mexico top six finishers

* 1. Loeb/Elena (Citroen)
* 2. Atkinson/Prevot (Subaru)
* 3. Latvala/Antilla (Ford)
* 4. Hirvonen/Lehtinen (Ford)
* 5. H Solberg/Menkerund (Ford)
* 6. Wilson/Martin (Ford)

Team News: Hirvonen backs WRC competitiveness

Castrol Ford Abu Dhabi team leader Mikko Hirvonen (below) has defended the close competition of the WRC in the face of criticism from former champion Carlos Sainz. While the Spaniard bemoaned the lack of top drivers fighting for victory, Hirvonen said: "Going into the last day of Greece and Mexico last year we had six drivers covered by 15 seconds. It doesn't get much more competitive than that and the rule changes for 2008 will make it even more so this season."

Race News: S2000 WRC future set for 2010

Plans to use the Super 2000 formula as the basis for the next generation of rally cars are firming up following a recent meeting of the World Rally Championship Commission. The likelihood is that the current S2000 formula will be adopted with the addition of a common turbo and a rear wing to make the cars look exciting as well as marginally improving their handling. The formula will be considered by the FIA World Council later this month for ratification in time for 2010.

For more information on the Castrol-sponsored Ford WRC team please visit the Racing and Sponsorship section of our homepage:

For more information on Castrol's sponsorship activities related to sports please visit:

Motor Oil and Lubricants Castrol UK and Ireland
Castrol UK Ltd, Wakefield House, Pipers Way, Swindon
SN3 1RE United Kingdom
Press contact: Caroline Topping
Phone: +44 (1793) 452781

Castrol is the world's leading specialist provider of lubricant products. Most people know Castrol oil for vehicles such as car oil, engine oil and synthetic oil as well as motorcycle oil. But there's not just Castrol motor oil, we also produce lubricants for vehicles in transport and construction industries, such as heavy goods vehicles, buses and earth moving machinery. Castrol UK feature the brands EDGE, Magnatec, GTX, SLX Professional, Elixion, Enduron and Tection among others.

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