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Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Latvala fit for rally after crash

Jari-Matti Latvala has said he is fit to compete in Rally Ireland this week after escaping unscathed from a car accident in Monaghan at the weekend.

Latvala was returning to his hotel after testing when a car travelling in the opposite direction lost control and crashed into the Finnish driver.

The Ford World Rally team driver escaped with just neck and shoulder pains and says he'll be fit to compete.

"In rallying you need to be able to forget crashes quickly," said Latvala.

"The other car started to swerve on the bumpy road and came on my lane," said Latvala.

"I dodged to the left, it crashed into the side of my car and I ended up in a ditch.

"If I hadn't pulled to the left it would have been much worse and I have continued testing after Saturday."

Meanwhile the build-up to the start of the rally is continuing in Sligo.

The cars will get their first opportunity to run in anger at the Shakedown test at Fermoyle, near Sligo, on Thursday morning, followed by the ceremonial start in Enniskillen Castle at 1930 BST on Thursday evening.

FIA president Max Mosley will be in attendance to see the cars through the ceremonial ramp.

Organisers of the rally have been forced to make a late change to one of the five stages running on Sunday 1 February.

Due to the recent deterioration of a bridge, they have had to shorten the popular Arigna stage, the bridge having already been closed for a number of weeks by Leitrim County Council.

"It's a pity for both the competitors and the spectators that we were forced to shorten the Arigna stage but unfortunately the matter was not within our contol.

"And despite our best efforts in recent days to ensure the running of the stage, it simply was not to be and we had no choice but to end the stage before it reached the bridge.

"However spectators can still look forward to what will be an excellent stage," said Clerk of the Course, Gordon Noble.

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see also
Loeb heads Rally Ireland entries
06 Jan 09 |  Rallying
Suzuki pull out of world rallying
15 Dec 08 |  Rallying
Subaru pull out of world rallying
16 Dec 08 |  Rallying
Rally Ireland route is revealed
29 Oct 08 |  Rallying
Loeb eases to victory in Corsica
12 Oct 08 |  Rallying
Rally co-founders step down
18 Sep 08 |  Rallying
Rally Ireland to return in 2009
07 Dec 07 |  Rallying
Loeb dominates in Rally Ireland
17 Nov 07 |  Rallying

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