Drive shaft failure spoiled Latvala’s rally in Wales

Muddy and slippery forest roads of the Wales are almost as well-known as the Finnish ones for Jari-Matti Latvala. This year lady fortune wasn’t with Jari-Matti and Miikka when they started the rally. He celebrated manufacturers’ title with his teammates, Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen after VW had confirmed manufacturers’ championship. However, Latvala didn’t jump to the podium, because he was 7th in the competition.

Latvala had to gave up for his dream of reaching the podium place as the drive shaft went broken at the second last stage of the opening leg, at a junction driven with high speed. At that point Latvala was third in competition.

  • Luckily we didn’t hit with trees and luckily the spectators pushed us back to the road as after the car went backwards and we got stuck in the ditch, Latvala said.
  • Why did the driving shaft went broken? That is something that I don’t know. The roads here are surfaced with rough macadam. It might be hard for the drive shaft’s protection rubbers. Latvala was left far behind from the lead at the opening stage that he drove with care. Then he managed to climb up to the third position.

Damaged drive shaft dropped him to the eight position, 3,43 seconds behind from the lead. After that Latvala started to narrow the gap between Mads Östberg driving ahead, being faster than Norwegian at the final stage. Latvala climped up to the seventh position.

  • The second day of the rally was full of pumpy driving. I didn’t find confidence with braking and couldn’t enjoy driving. In addition I made mistake at the Powerstage, Latvala said.
  • When I managed to pull ahead of Östberg on the final day, I just focused on driving to the finish line and confirming the manufacturer’s championship.

VW’s Sebastien Ogier won the competition and Ott Tänak took the second position.