Good driving and right tire choices on the alpine roads of France
The alpine roads nearby Gap in France and the seashore alps nearby Monaco offered traditional challenges in Rally Monte Carlo.
The conditions ranged from dry tarmac to snow-covered roads or slippery icy sections – and even to water on the road. And of course, some times there were all of these conditions on the same stage.
Jari-Matti Latvala didn’t enjoy the stages of Monte – not before than this: now he took the second place in the rally with good speed and safe tire choises.
– Now I know how to drive in this rally. Some years I tried to drive far too fast on icy stages, and last year I drove too slowly, he said.
– Here I learned some new things. For first time I drove with slick tires on icy roads. This far I have chosen snow tires for icy stages.
The second place began to seem safe already on early stage when the gaps between the leading positions grew sharply. This was because the main challengers of VW, Sebastien Loeb from Citroen and Kris Meeke dropped out of the top battleship due to mistakes with driving.
According to Latvala he couldn’t afford to slow down, in particular when the new rules prevented to get the split times of other drivers while driving.
Latvala took third position on slippery icy roads after two stages driven on Thursday and reached the second position in Friday night, when Loeb dropped out of the top battle due to a crash.
Problem with brakes in Turin
On Saturday Latvala started his rally with one goal on his mind, trying to keep his position. The conditions nearly took its toll.
– Two kilometers from the start of the first stage the car rear slided when there was sand on the cover of the road. I could have been able to step on the gas and try to fix but there was a bridge coming in front of us, I was afraid to do so and I turned the car to a field. We drove there a short loop and then came back to the road, said Latvala.
– In all, I tried to drive faster whenever there was clearly dry or icy sections, and slower when the surface of the road was slippery blac tarmac or something else a bit vague like snow.
– On Sunday Latvala found his way without setbacks though Col de Turini revealed the problem with brakes.
– With brakes there seemed to be a problem: brake discs, in manner of speaking, glazed. Then the friction lost in certain places – for example when we got up in the stage of Turin and there was snow.
On Saturday there was the same situation on snowy stage of Sisterone, Latvala said.
Team Volkswagen Motorsport celebrated a triple victory when Andreas Mikkelsen was third after Ogier and Latvala.
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