x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Debut of Ford Abu Dhabi's new rally car is put back by high-speed crash

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has dropped plans to debut its all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car in Finland's Arctic Lapland Rally next weekend.

The Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has dropped plans to debut the all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car in Finland's Arctic Lapland Rally next weekend.

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were scheduled to drive a leg each in the two-day snow and ice rally based in Rovaniemi, starting on Friday.It was due to be the final part of the squad's pre-season test programme before next month's opening round of the World Rally Championship in Sweden.

However, a heavy accident on the second day of testing in Sweden at the weekend forced the team to revise their plans and drop its appearance at the Arctic Rally.

Latvala and Anttila were unhurt in the 150kph crash but the Fiesta RS WRC needs extensive repair work. "We will repair the damage to the car before continuing our testing in Sweden later this week," Malcolm Wilson, the Ford Abu Dhabi team director, said.

"We're confident we can complete all our scheduled test work this week, but unfortunately we need to sacrifice our appearance at the Arctic Lapland Rally."

Latvala said the accident happened over a sixth gear crest. "It was my error," he said. "I tried to use the snow banks to slow the car, but it rolled in the road before vaulting the snow banks and hitting some trees."