Only the fastest times and second position in WRC-competition delighted Latvala
This year the oozy, damp and fast gravel roads of Wales didn’t favor Jari-Matti Latvala. In the final competition of WRC series, Latvala’s position was 51st, due to two retirements.
Four fastest times including the win at Powerstage and confirmed second position in overall result in WRC.
– This time we weren’t lucky enough, Latvala admitted after retiring at the second stage of Saturday’s leg. The drive shaft of the car went broken.
– However, good thing here is that the broken drive shaft did have nothing to do with the crash on the previous day. It just worked at the limit, and the next service was after four stages.
The retirement of the opening day occured at the second stage of the leg.
– At the start of the stage the engine stopped when braking. After that we were passengers and the car fell into a deep ditch. We couldn’t do anything so we had to retire. Luckily the car didn’t break, Latvala said.
Latvala believed that cold tyres may have prevented the wheels to roll and due that possibilized the engine to stop on the slippery braking.
– We changed one front tire to new during the latest road section, Latvala summed.
On the final day Latvala found a good pace after two rainy and difficult day: he won all four stages of the final leg.
– Great that we finally found a right kind of pace and driving feeling, Latvala smiled.
Hardships early in the season costed too much
When Latvala falled by the wayside of the win battle in Wales, Kris Meeke tried to challenge Sebastien Ogier. However, this turned out to be a distant goal when Citroen driver wasn’t fast enough. Ogier took his third victory in rally Wales in a row. The competition ended the whole rally season that brought three victories for Latvala and second place in overall result in WRC – for third time. Andreas Mikkelsen got a theoretical possibility to climb to second position by winning the contest and successing at the Powerstage but he was third in the finish line when Meeke was second.
– If there are 14 rounds in WRC-series, you can retire only once during first half year and once during the next half year, Latvala says.
– Now we retired three times in three rounds after Monte Carlo. With that kind of result we can’t fight for the WRC title, Latvala summed up the whole season.
In the first part of the season Latvala had difficulties to get familiar with the renew WRC Polo. When it finally happened, Latvala took win in Portugal in May. After Neste Oil Rally Finland driven in the end of summer Latvala was battling for the win in every contest excluding Wales.
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