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.