Latvala beat Ogier and captivated the spectator in Jyväskylä
Jari-Matti Latvala’s thrilling victory in Neste Oil Rally Finland didn’t leave anyone cold. Impressive tour de force and famous Finnish sisu were praised not only by other drivers and the spectator but also by the media. The Finnish star of Volkswagen himself gave thanks to the spectator, co-driver Miikka Anttila and sport psychologist, Cristoph Treier’s support.
– I have never had feeling like this before. I got this same feeling already on the shakedown and through the whole rally, Latvala smiled.
This season Neste Rally returned to the well-known graveled roads and Grand Prix-views of Central Finland. On the route some new challenges were set by Pihlajakoski and Päijälä stages that were new to all drivers and were driven twice on Friday. Also Kakaristo, that was modified version of Ouninpohja, set an interesting challenge.
Stages driven on Saturday were familiar to the drivers, legendary and superfast Myhinpää was the highlight of short Sunday
Latvala won 13 out of rally’s 26 stages, where as 3,6 seconds slower Sebastien Ogier won 12, being second fast in the rally.
Latvala was hard pressed on Saturday, when he lost near half minute lead due to breakage of a brake caliper in Jukojärvi 2.
– At that moment I decided that I won’t lose this rally. I lost in Sardinia although I was in lead. Same happened in Rally Corsica last year. I made a decision that I won’t let it happen for third time, Latvala said.
On the last day of the competition Latvala’s speed was tough but driving went steadily and without any mistakes, despite the great excitement. Latvala made a bottom time on the Ruuhimäki 1. and was one second slower than Ogier in Myhinpää.
Latvala was 3,7 seconds lead when starting the final stage, Ruuhimäki that was driven for second time. Ogier took 0,1 seconds better time there but Latvala and Anttila gained their second victory of the Neste Oil Rally Finland which they aired wildly in the finish.
– In last three years the French drivers have won here. They have shown their skills and speed. I wanted to win this rally for Finnish rally fans. I’m sure that this victory is heartened by them and they will come to Jyväskylä also in next year, Latvala said.
With his win Latvala narrowed Ogier’s margin of lead to 44 points. When there’s five competitions left, Latvala’s chances to take part in the battle for the championship aren’t still gone.
– If I had lost, it would have meant that I’m the second in WRC-championship. Now I managed to keep the battle for the championship alive.
During this season, Latvala has won also Rally Sweden and Rally Argentina. Throughout his whole career there are eleven victories.
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