Good driving in Sardinia – but not lucky enough
This year there were many slow and technical parts for drivers on renewed route of Rally di Sardegna. It was reflected in the number of driving mistakes occured during the competition. Also the sharp stones of the edges of the roads broke tires.
For Jari-Matti Latvala the rally left mixed feelings: driving went well but air pressure and damper went broken and lost the chances to success.
Latvala was sixth in overall results, while Latvala’s team mate, Sebatien Ogier took the win – for third time in line.
– Second position could have been able to reach, if you had started with carefully mindset and tried to avoid the stones, Latvala said.
Latvala’s own driving started well. After first competition day he was third, almost half minute behind Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon who made use of his good starting place on the roads covered with loose gravel and therefore took the leading position. Latvala fretted that he made too careful tire choise at the stage on the morning.
– In the evening we knew that it’s going to rain at night but the temperature should have risen fast over 30 degrees. However, it turned out to be cloudy day and the air was cooler than what we expected. Due that I should have taken two soft tires with me on the morning, just like Paddon and Ogier, Latvala described the situation.
Latvala who had a good starting position reached the second position before the second last stage of the day but dropped to third position after making a mistake with braking at the slowing junction.
– I hit on a bale at the bend and the rear of the car jumped out of the road so hard that a tire with rim came off. I had to drive with that nine kilometers and two final kilometers we drove really carefully, Latvala said.
Chances to fight for the win were gone on the second driving day when Latvala first lost two minutes due to puncture, and then drove slowly for the rest of the driving day with three dampers.
– There was a jump and then a combination of turnings to right and left, which I always drive at full throttle, so did I also for that time. Now I had a slightly different driving line and when hitting the ground the car was slightly sideways, and the another rear tire lost it’s rim, Latvala summed up the situation.
– I tried to drive with that for a while but I had to stop to change the tire.
After that Latvala managed to get a good speed and drove three fastest times during the rest of the day. On the final day of the rally Ogier was fastest at the Powerstage and left Latvala 3,8 seconds behind.
– At the Powerstage I got three soft tires and one hard tire. Seb got four soft tires; which turned out to be better choice. Grip would have been better when accelerating and braking, Latvala said.
All in all, Latvala was fastest at seven out of 23 stages.