Trouble-filled mornings and smooth afternoons in Australia
This year Australia was the place where the winner of WRC was confirmed. Sebastien Ogier took the championship for the third time in a row, where as VW took manufacturers’ championship that was sealed by Jari-Matti Latvala’s second position in the rally. The gap between Ogier was 12,3 seconds.
Rally Australia was driven in Coffs Harbour area, mainly on the route known from the earlier years. Compared to the last year, this year there were three new stages, ”village roads” in the rally, as Jari-Matti Latvala described them. Some changes were also made to the Sunday’s stage.
On Friday the route went outside the forest and there was a lot of loose gravel on the roads. The starting place had a strong effect on the pace. Latvala found a good driving rhythm for the roads driven on Friday. After four stages driven on morning he was fifth but reached the leading position with three fastest times when the same stages were driven for the second time on the afternoon.
– On the day’s first stage I got frightened of noticing that the tires started to scuff surprisingly fast, when only 7 or 8 kilometers were driven. I started to slow down, Latvala said.
During the service Tony Gardemeister who had come to follow the competition, said that I’m suffering lack of trying. I choosed the hard tires for the afternoon’s stage and gave more gas, which turned out to be a good thing. Nambucca put a spanner in the works On Saturday there were only two stages to outdo: two times driven, 50-kilometer-long Nambucca and short Valla for once driven. Latvala’s driving wasn’t at it’s best and he dropped to the third position. On the afternoon driving improved and Latvala climbed up in the ranking and therefore was only 2,6 seconds behind from leader Ogier, who managed to stay near the leading position throughout the rally despite the challenge of being the first car on the route.
– Somehow I just couldn’t fight when we were driving first time 50-kilometer-long Nambucca. First 20 kilometers went well, but after that driving was difficult. During afternoon leg driving got better. I pushed as hard I could for the second driving time in Nambucca, as same as in Valla. However, the rear tires were so scuffed at the end of the stage, that it was hard to keep the car inside the driving lines and to avoid loose gravel, Latvala thought back the second driving time in Valla where the stage was driven for second time at nightfall.
Ogier was fastest on Sunday’s leg consisted of five special stages and won the rally. Latvala climbed up to second position.
– I really tried to battle for the victory till the end of the rally. All in all, my driving went without mistakes but I think that there wasn’t enough ”spark” with my driving on Friday and Saturday, Latvala summed up the whole rally weekend.