Latvala took a win in Rally Corsica with style
Jari-Matti Latvala adapted his pace right in Rally Corsica, on the route that became slippery because of monsoon rain, dirt and mud.- It was a well contolled performance. At the fifth stage I tried to push hard but for the rest I didn’t take any risks at all. This tactic seemed to work, Latvala said. In WRC series, seven stages is sometimes the daily dose. In Rally Corsica it was the measure for whole competition as one, two times driven special stage was cancelled. The route leading to the stage was partly under water, then the mud flew down from the mountain and dirt made the special stage road impossible to drive. The Tour de Corse was driven first time since 2008. It was only the third time when a Finn won the rally. Markku Alén who drove with Lancia took the victory in Corsica in 1983 and 1984. – It was a pretty nice feeling to win here as a first Finn after such a long time, Latvala pondered. He dedicated his victory for Henri Toivonen who died in Corsica.
The most difficult ever seen
The competition route circled roads that were narrower than earlier and full of tightening junctions. – The most difficult route I’ve ever seen here, Latvala summed. The competition started on Friday on the roads that became slippery last night by heavy rain. When the rain continued through the day, it was necessary to concentrate hard. Latvala didn’t take risks and came as third to the service break, 22,9 seconds behind leader, Ford’s Elfyn Evans and 4,9 seconds behind Hyundai’s Kevin Abbring who was second. – I drove very carefully. Especially the later stage was very difficult. There were many places where water flew over the road. There was no credit to drive over them at full speed, Latvala summed up the situation. Sebastien Ogier damaged his rear tire at later stage and then in the evening he had to retire due to breakage of gearbox, which brought 10 minutes time penalty. Latvala’s car gearbox went to haywire at the last stage of second competition day. -When changing to lower gear I had to change manually at some points. During the stage we lost about ten seconds off the pace, said Latvala who won the first stage of the leg.
It wasn’t easy to choose the right tires
Latvala held a two-second-lead before Evans at the Sunday’s leg of three stages. -On Sunday morning I was a bit uncertain about the tire choice. I chose four soft and two hard tires for the leg of two long stages, and it worked, Latvala said. However, at the stage Latvala started to think if the choice was right. – At the first stage the car started to wobble. I wasn’t sure if it was about overheated tires whether slippery road. Neither I wasn’t sure about the pace, because there weren’t split times, Latvala rethought. Latvala won Evans by 15 seconds on the opening stage of the day which took Latvala’s worries away. – For the second stage I chose two hard front tires and soft rear tires. First nine kilometers of the stage was damp and the rest was dry, so I could go quite fast, although I had to be careful when cutting. Latvala deciced to confirm his win at the final stage, Powerstage, being third and 10,2 seconds slower than Ogier who drove the fastest time. However, Latvala was a happy guy. He had just took his 15.win during his WRC-career and his second win in a row in Rally France.