Rally Italy had not much to offer for me. I went to Italy to win because I had always liked this race. The start was promising because I won the qualification. After that we made a huge mistake: we chose a wrong starting place. And we also had a puncture which left us 40 seconds behind the lead. I tried to attack on Friday but that was over on the fourth stage when I hit an iron gate plus an iron pole and the car stopped. The car was not very badly damaged but so much all together that we had to stop competing on Friday. We continued the rally on Saturday due to Rally 2 rule but we had no chance to succeed because we had 25 minutes of time penalty. I drove trying to find a good rhythm for the ending race in Spain. This season has been a disappointment. I have made more mistakes than during two previous seasons. Too many mistakes but also two victories. Before this season I had high hopes because our car was competitive but I wasn’t able to put the pressure aside. I have forced the car and I have forced myself too much which caused trouble. Next season I drive a Volkswagen and try to succeed in that team. We also negotiated with my current team, M-Sport, but Team Volkswagen could offer me a longer contract. I know that Team Volkswagen is highly motivated and that they want to win the manufacture’s title. Sebastien Loeb drives only a few races which grows us other drivers’ hunger for the title. There is still one rally left, Rally Spain which is considered a tarmac rally although this year there will be one day driven on gravel. I have always dreamt of winning on tarmac so I try to win there. I just have to be more balanced in Catalonia than I was in Italy. Even more important than the victory in Spain is to gain the third place in the series for which I owe a good chance for being only four points behind Mats Östberg. It has been hard for our team to hear that Ford will not continue in the series which makes me even more determined to be third in the series as a final favor for my current team.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s columns will be published in Ilta-Sanomat freshly after each rally.
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