Wales Rally GB 12.-15.11.2015

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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RallyRACC-Rally de Espana 22.-25.10.2015

Second place in Catalonia – despite of flat tyres

Two flat tyres and problems with badly bleeded brakes didn’t prevent Jari-Matti Latvala from achieving a podium place in Rally Catalonia. Six fastest times, steady driving and Sebastien Ogier’s retirement brought second place for Jari-Matti. Latvala started as second on the final day of the rally but then one tire got damaged by gravel and Latvala lost eight seconds and falled to third place when Andreas Mikkelsen climbed up on the ranking. This leaded to a fierce chase but Mikkelsen managed to keep his position and reached the win for the first time as Sebastien Ogier hit the railing at the final stage and lost the victory that seemed sure. Same time Latvala climbed up to second. – Andreas definitely earned his win. He was close to victory already in Rally Sweden but crashed into the snow at the final stage, Latvala thought back.

Good driving on gravel

Second podium place in Rally Catalonia was fourth in a row for Latvala. Rally was driven around area of Salou. Just like last year the competition started with spectator stage in Barcelona, On Friday rally was driven on gravel and then two days on well surfaced tarmac just like on motordrome speedway. Half of the route was renewed after last year. Last year in Catalonia Latvala experienced a loss on the gravel roads driven on Friday. Now he was opening the route as second right after Ogier, so plowing the loose gravel boomeranged back on the afternoon. On the afternoon Latvala managed to lead the rally during three stages, when Ogier climbed up to first place at the last stage of the leg. After that Ogier was ahead of Latvala four seconds. – The stage driven on Thursday in Barcelona went to pot. I made a wrong choise with tyres. This time the first stage on the morning was sticky and there wasn’t enough trying but after that driving went better, Latvala summed.

Bleeding brakes and unnecessary weight

On Saturday Latvala’s dream of battling for the win broke as the car got a flat tyre. Problems with brakes paved the way for this. When the team changed the brakes designed for asphalt after Friday’s gravel roads, the bleeding wasn’t done properly. -I and Miikka bleeded brakes before and after two first stages of Saturday morning. Only after that they started to work, Latvala said. – Once we got the brakes to work, I was a little bit hyperactive after the stressful situation. I couldn’t enough calm myself down and I hit concrete and a rim got damaged. The flat tyre cost 53 seconds for Latvala and dropped him to fourth place. However, before the final day he climbed up to second position with a series of fastest times. In addition to the flat tyre, on final day Latvala was annoyed by team engineer’s recommendation of taking two spare tyres into the car. It made the car pushing strongly on slowly driven and uphill junctions. Despite the problems in the end Latvala was only 3,1 seconds away from victory.


Tour De Course Rallye de France 01.-04.10.2015

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 during his WRC-career and his second win in a row in Rally France.


Coates Hire Rally Australia 10.-13.09.2015

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.


ADAC Rallye Deutchland 20.-23.08.2015

Determinations in Panzerplatte, Latvala second in German

Jari-Matti Latvala was happy with Rally German where he was second. VW- team mate, French Sebastien Ogier took the win despite Jari-Matti’s steady driving. However, Latvala showed again his pace on tarmac. – I like to drive on tarmac but it’s not my favourite. So I have to say that this second position was a good thing to me, Latvala said. Latvala took win on six out of 21 stages and lost the changes to fight for the victory not before than on second last competition day, when the special stage was driven at Panzerplatte-area that is known as a military training area. – I deciced to attack there but it didn’t work, Latvala admitted. Attacking was difficult as the car setup wasn’t what Latvala wanted. According to Latvala the car chassis was a bit stiff and unsettled when braking and it understeered. Latvala beated Ogier in Neste Oil Rally Finland and tried his best to beat his team mate also on Ogier’s favourite surface, tarmac. – Ogier has a great weekend and beating him wasn’t possible this time so I decided to confirm my second position at WRC series, Latvala said. In Rally German Latvala was fastest also at the final stage, Powerstage, which brought three extra points. Now Latvala is strongly holding the second place at WRC series.




Neste Oil Rally Finland 30.07.-02.08.2015

Latvala outdid the challenge of Ouninpohja and beated Ogier

If you can’t win the World Rally Championship, the next best thing to do is to win the Neste Oil Rally Finland – this is how things are, at least when asking from Jari-Matti Latvala.

Latvala took his third victory on gravel roads of Middle Finland which brought him at the same level with Sebastien Loeb and Juha Kankkunen when it comes to the amount of victories in Rally Finland. And what most important the victory came from the fastest competition ever.

Latvala was fastest on ten out of 20 stages driven on the competition and set the breath-taking average speed of the competition: 125,44 km/h. It’s a new record for the competition. Latest record was 122,89 km/h made by Sebastien Loeb in 2012.

– One of the best performances on my career. I showed that I’m able to challenge Sebastien Ogier when it comes to pace, Latvala said.

The first half of the season has been troublesome for Latvala, and the right kind of driving rhythm was a bit lost still in the previous competition driven in Poland. Problems were partly caused by the car setup.

Although Ogier pushed hard, Latvala showed on the routes of Neste Oil Rally that his skills and pace have reached a level where he is able to beat anyone without mistakes.

– Focusing on this competition was a success – maybe from now on I should think forehand that I’m driving at my home rally, regardless of where I am driving, Latvala wisecracked.

Latvala got a good feeling with this year competition already at the time when the route were made public. This year the competition was moved to faster roads, which suited well for Latvala.

Last year Latvala got finally grip on legendary Ouninpohja-stage and this year he took the leading position right in Ouninpohja on Friday. He kept his position until the end of the rally, even if Ogier fought back hard.

– An awesome battle. Being beated by Jari-Matti doesn’t bother me, Ogier said after the competition.

The battleship between Latvala and Ogier culminated on Sunday on twice-driven Myhinpää almost length of 15 kilometers: Latvala took the win on the first driving time and Ogier on the second driving time, being 0,4 seconds faster than Latvala. On the second time this racing duo passed the bumpy and fast route full ofdownhills with the average speed more than 135 km/h.

– This tastes sweet, Latvala raised the victory that was 14th on his career.


LOTOS 72nd Rally Poland 02.-05.07.2015

Latvala fought for the podium place in Poland with a risk

Foot on the gas didn’t rest in Rally Poland. On the renewed route which includes long, hard bottom and straight roads, the average speed raised up to 121 km/h just like in Neste Oil RallyFinland.

– There is forest too but mostly we drove in the middle of the fields. There was a lot of jumps, fifth-driven Jari-Matti Latvala said about the route.

A little mistake with braking at the last stage ruined Latvala’s chances to reach the third position. He was fourth in the rally, over second behind Ott Tänaks and third place, when the final stage, nearly 15-kilometer-long Baranowo-stage started.

– It was kind of all or nothing. I wanted third place and I drove the stage as fast as I ever ventured, Latvala said.

Latvala was on the lead when looking the split times of the stage but a little mistake with driving caused crash and breakage of the cooler.

– The cooler damaged. We had to stop to fix to prevent the engine get broken. Due this time control gave us 40 seconds time penalty, Latvala summed up situation.

The penalty dropped Latvala to fifth position when Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon drew ahead. Sebastien Ogier took the win in the rally – for the fifth time this season. Andreas Mikkelsen sealed the double victory for VW-team and Tänak was third with his Ford.

Hard fight in top four

The competition started with super special stage in the rally head quarter, Mikolajiki, on Thursday. Eight stages driven on Friday were twofold for Latvala.

– Two first stages were ok but then the speed on the lead grew and I faced some mistakes.

Driving just didn’t went with a swing, Latvala reminisced nearly 15-kilometer-long Babk and over 39-kilometer-long Stanczyk. At those stages Latvala left about 14 seconds behind Tänak who was in the lead, and dropped to fourth position over 22 seconds from the lead.

– I made good tyre choises for the afternoon. I took two hard tyres and tre soft and driving went really well, Latvala reminisced the afternoon when he reached the third place.

Ogier took the leading position of the rally toward evening when Tänak, who was the leader most of the day, faced brake problems.

Latvala started Saturday’s leg, which included eight stages as third, 10,8 seconds behind Ogier, who was in the lead. Before Sunday when there was only two times driven stage of Baranowo left, Latvala was fourth, 19,1 seconds behind the leader, Ogier. Mikkelsen was second, 5,5 seconds from the lead and Tänak on third position, 17,6 seconds from Ogier and nearly two seconds faster than Latvala.

– For some reasong driving feeling wasn’t at it’s best on Saturday. We had also some problems with the car setup, Latvala summed up the Saturday’s leg.


Rally Italia Sardegna 11.-14.06.2015

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.


Rally Portugal 21 -24 May 2015

Latvala won the renewed Rally Portugal

Jari- Matti Latvala’s chain of misfortune WRC competitions broke when he took a great victory in Rally Portugal. Latvala managed to keep Sebastien Ogier, leader of the WRC, behind on the three stages of the final day of the rally.

– In practise only two stages were driven on Sunday. First the stage of Fafe, then over 30 kilometers long Vieira Di Minho and then Fafe again, as Powerstage. I focused completely on that long stage, Latvala said. This was because of that recent years Fafe has been driven as a sprint stage before the rally, so Ogier had more and later experience of it.

– Fafe wouldn’t have been the right place to challenge Ogier so I had to try to succeed on the longer stage, Latvala commented. For Latvala the victory was the 13th on his WRC career but the first took in Portugal. During the years the competitions driven in Portugal have been one of the hardest WRC competitions for Latvala.

– Now winning tasted much sweeter than usual because the competition route changed completely this year and the center of the rally moved from Algarve to north, near Porto, Latvala said.

– The new roads suit me better than the roads of the southern route. There are no so many hidden jumps and the roads are softer when there’s more gravel on the road. The route was a mix of Sardinia and Argentina. All out of the starting position on two first competition days Latvala managed to make use of the excellent starting position on as ninth car. A forest fire occured during the first driving day canceled one stage out of six and Latvala came to the overnight lead of 11,1 seconds before Citroen’s Kris Mekke.

Latvala started the competition day carefully but then won two stages.

– I drove carefully at the first stage. At the second stage I attacked but also made some mistakes. From the start of the third stage driving went well, Latvala recalled the situation. On the second actual competition day Ogier got the softer tire to last the flash attack during the six stages and the French reached the second position, 9,5 seconds from Latvala.

– On the morning I missed one junction which took a few seconds. Same happened when I passed retired Thierry Neuville. Comparing to Ogier I played it safe with the tyres and saved the softer ones. However, if I had driven like Ogier, I couldn’t have gotten them last, Latvala said.

At the Sunday’s first stage Ogier narrowed the gap between Latvala to 7,8 seconds but at the second stage Latvala took fastest time which returned the gap to 10,4 seconds. Practically, this sealed the competition. Ogier was fastest at the Powerstage, Latvala being second but the winner when watching overall results where Latvala was 8,2 seconds faster than Ogier.


Rally Argentina 23 -26 April 2015

Driving good – technique bad

Problems with the gearbox and fuel supply left Jari-Matti Latvala far away from points in Rally Argentina. Latvala had to retired from the competition on the second last stage. The rally was driven nearby Carlos Paz, on a route ruined by heavy rains.

-Engine stopped on the road section before the stage. First I couldn’t restart it but finally I managed to do so and I drove it with heavy throttle to the start of the stage, Latvala thought back. At that point it was already clear that there was a problem with fuel supply. Engine was running only with three cylinders.
Team warned that Latvala may be unable to finish the special stage. However, he decided to try.

– When the engine was running only with three cylinders, the fuel consumption was so high that fuel was runned out of, Latvala reiterated. Latvala’s VW-team mate, Sebastien Ogier, had the same problem which retired his rally on opening day but in contrast to Latvala, Ogier had time to return to the rally with the help of rally 2- rule and managed to win the Power Stage.

On Friday Latvala fought against Citroen’s Kris Meeke from reaching the first position of the rally when the gearbox broke down.

– The gearbox broke down completely, even the shell went into pieces and the car became two-wheel drive. Bolts just broke under hard pressure, Latvala thought back the situation which costed near minute.

Latvala, who dropped down to third on Saturday, had to challenge Mads Östberg in the battle for second place. It turned out to be impossible when one stage out of four was cancelled due to Hayden Paddon’s crash and one stage went to pot because of Latvala’s own mistake.

Latvala started as third the two stages of the final day of the rally before the car faced with problems and was forced to stop.

– The driveability was good which was positive. There were problems with the grip of the rear of the car, Latvala said.

Meeke brought the Brits back to the winning pace

Ogier reached the 17th position at the rally. He won the final stage, Power Stage, and took three points, so the gap between Latvala,who is now ninth at the WRC fight, is 65 points. Latvala took one fastest time in Argentina.

Northern Irish Meeke came the first Brit to win in WRC competition since 13 years and as Östberg came second with Citroen, Citroen took it’s first double victory since Neste Oil Rally 2012. Jari Ketomaa was third in WRC2 and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari took the win.

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