Too much drama!

The end of rally Mexico turned out to be dramatic for me. We started the last day in third position but still we tried to push. We tried to get a very good time so that we could get closer to the Citroens. My rally was ruined on the 54 kilometer long stage after 43 kilometers. After a fast section I came out of a corner and saw a car upside down right in front of me. I panicked a bit because I thought that the car would be in the middle of the road. I braked and started to slide towards the edge of the road. The rear of my car hit a bank which rolled the car. There were many things that went wrong here. Jevgeni Novikov had driven off the road. He and his co-driver were a bit confused after the crash so they had asked the spectators to go and warn us who came from behind. In a crash like that there should be a proper warning plus at least a warning triangle on the road. Novikov’s car had broken down, there were all kinds of stuff on the road and no warning triangle had been found. So no one warned us when we reached that spot. Why weren’t we warned? was my first thought after I had crashed my car. I understand now the state on which Novikov and his co-driver were after their crash. Novikov’s car rolled five times while mine rolled only twice. I was able to limp with my car into the finish. Before the next stage a controller of the FIA saw that the safety roll bar of my car was slightly injured. I had a long and intensive discussion with him trying to get a promise to go on but in vain and that was the end of my race. It felt very bad because we did have only two more stages to go. There were some other mishaps in rally Mexico, too. On Friday I hit a huge rock which was lying on the road where there was a fast section. We have checked the in-car cameras of other cars, too, and the rock cannot be seen in the in-car of the car before me. While hitting that rock I broke the suspension of my car. In Mexico there usually are problems with the spectators who put rocks on the roads but that exact rock had rolled from the mountain bank. The retirement hit hard on my hopes for winning the title. If I had finished third and if I had succeeded to catch a few extra points on the power stage I would not be so very far from the lead. But now Sebastien Loeb is 40 points ahead which seems to be pretty much. There are still ten rallies to go and if our car is as competitive as it has been here I may still have a chance to win the title. And maybe Sebastien Loeb will miss all the points in some rally and I will get 28 points so … you never know. I feel good thinking of the next race in Portugal. Our car is competitive so there is no reason why I shouldn’t trust our car.

Jari-Matti Latvala’s columns will be published in Ilta-Sanomat freshly after each rally.

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