Victories are needed now
Without victories we won’t rise in the series. After rally Greece I felt pretty good because I went there to be on the podium which I was. After my sick leave a podium position was a good thing and I have to be content. Yet I am a bit annoyed because I had a chance to win. The puncture on Saturday took away that chance. I was only two seconds behind the leader, Sebastien Loeb, when the puncture happened and we were really fighting hard. I increased my pace a bit and came to a corner slightly too fast. Coming out of the corner went a little too wide and the tyre hit a bank. I went on because I thought there was no harm done but obviously one rock went into the tyre and four kilometers later the tyre went off the rim. I tried to drive with the rim only but it didn’t last. The tyre tore off in pieces and the rim split into two because of all the rocks on the road. The rim came off and split the brake plate. Now I had no rear brakes which forced us to stop and change the tyre when there were only three kilometers to the finish of the stage. In Greece it has usually been dry and hot while driving the rally but this year made an exception. There were small showers of rain in each day of rallying. Because of the rain there was mud on the roads which added up some spices into driving. I was able to challenge Loeb for long but once again this race showed that Loeb, while competing seriously, does not make any mistakes. He is capable of controlling the risks better than anybody. These are the moments which show why he has won the title eight times. On the last day of the rally Loeb had a puncture but that didn’t matter. He was leading so much no one could reach him while he changed the tyre. I had to be aside in the previous rally because I was injured. In Greece my injured shoulder gave me no worries while driving. Only the changing of a broken tyre and lifting it (it weighs 25kilos) was bad for my shoulder. No pain while driving but sometimes my other arm was more tired than the other. I have titanium and some screws in my shoulder but I didn’t have time to think of that because I was so focused on driving. My fight for the title was bad when I started rally Greece and now it is even worse although I was on the podium. My only goal now is to drive for the victory in every event to come. We need to win; two-three positions are not enough for us. Our car is good which makes it nice for us to go to New Zealand during Midsummer. It is a great country with a fine race.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s columns will be published in Ilta-Sanomat freshly after each rally.
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