Speed and tactic keys to victory
Recent years Rally Argentina has become the Safari Rally of today in the field of Rally World Championship. This year there was raining before the race which washed away soft sand leaving stages bumpy and rocky . The fog and mud also caused extra challenge to the drivers. Those didn’t stop Jari-Matti Latvala: he took the victory of the rally – as a first Finn since 2003.
Latvala performed strongly on Friday and left the second driver, Sebastien Ogier, 18 seconds behind during the last stage on Friday. Latvala’s leading marginal for Saturday were 17,7 seconds .
On Saturday Ogier was about to get Latvala’s position when Latvala span and stalled the engine at the stage. However, Ogier also span on the same stage and lost more time cause of puncture.
“For some reason I was a bit nervous before that stage and when the driving didn’t start well, I made a little mistake. I stepped on gas too early and as the tyres weren’t at right position, the right tyre stopped to sand and we span, Latvala thought back the mistake that took 5-6 seconds.”
“When I checked the split times after stalling the engine , I expected us to be 10 seconds behind Ogier but instead of it, we were 2,5 seconds in the lead, Latvala thought back.”
“After that Latvala succeed to grow the gap between him and Ogier with his clever and stable speed.”
“I realized after recce that in these conditions it’s smarter to drive steadily rather than as fast as possible. This means that I was really careful on the poor-conditioned roads. On contrary, on better-conditioned roads, we pushed really hard.”
Co-operation with co-driver Anttila worked like a charm through the whole rally
Latvala who won five out of 14 special stages shared thanks to his co-driver, Miikka Anttila.
“Miikka read the pace notes really fantastic specially during those misty sections. It worked like a charm with the drive, Latvala rejoiced.”
According to Latvala, the second victory for the season and the tenth victory of World Rally Championships came along with almost perfect performance.
“I could have driven better the Power stage at the end of rally. But El Condor turned out to be muddy and slippery condition that I decided to stay in my plan, and I didn’t start to catch three extra points with a big risk, Latvala says.”
Ogier won the Power stage and beat Mikko Hirvonen and Latvala who earned one extra WRC-point from third place. In the fight of World Rally Championship he is second, 24 points from Ogier.
“Beating Ogier in these conditions was a big thing to me, especially when his drive here last year was so strong that I couldn’t believe that I could beat him.”
The World Rally Championship will continue on June with the rallies of Sardinia and Poland. After that next in line will be Neste Oil Rally Finland, at the end of July.
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