Patience is a virtue

Rally Monte Carlo didn’t go the way I had planned. My race started even better than I had hoped for. The tyre choice succeeded and because of my good attack I led the race by almost 30 seconds after three stages. Sebastien Loeb was the second. On the fourth stage I had a bit wrong kind of tyres and drove onto an icy spot slightly too fast. I tried somewhat too hard and didn’t listen to my co-driver and the notes as carefully as I should. A corner after a crest surprised me and my car started to slide. Our speed was not very fast but the car went to the side of the road and up a bank. Behind it there was a three-meter fall where we fell rear ahead and landed on our side. The car was not damaged badly and we could have been able to continue the race with it but there were only about ten spectators and it was too hard for us to lift the car that weighs 1200 kilos back to the road. A tow truck was needed. The next couple of days after the retirement were bad. It really wasn’t nice to see the others race. But now that the rally is over and my calendar is quite full I will put myself together and go on. The super rally rule was not used in Monte Carlo, now that I really would have needed it. The differences grew so big in there that I would have been able to gain a reasonable amount of points but rules are rules and we knew them beforehand so it’s no use shilly-shallying. I didn’t find it difficult to drive as a leader of the race. A desire to win only grows in a situation like that. But I should have kept my head cool. Never have I started Rally Monte Carlo so well which of course was positive like the performance of our car. Sebastien Loeb was once again extremely good in Monte Carlo. He took his sixth win there and he even took three extra points on power stage. I tried to challenge him in the beginning of the rally because under a pressure even he may make mistakes and he may be beaten. Before Rally Sweden I will go to watch the Arctic Rally in Rovaniemi where my father is competing. I was thinking of participating myself but that cannot be arranged. Instead we will test the car for Rally Sweden in Northern Sweden after a week and a half. It’s great to go to Sweden because it is one of my favorite competitions. I hope there will be lots of snow during the rally. I believe that our car is very good on snow and on gravel. Now it is time for me to think of the points in the series. Loeb has 28 points and I don’t have any. There are 12 more rallies to go where there are altogether 300 points to be shared. I have to think the whole series not just one rally at the time. Patience is a virtue.

Jari-Matti Latvala’s columns will be published in Ilta-Sanomat freshly after each rally.

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