Latvala seeks gravel boost
He dropped 36.6s to Sébastien Ogier on Spain’s gravel stages
Jari-Matti Latvala is hoping today’s pre-Wales Rally GB test will help him to re-gain his confidence on gravel and put his Rally de Espana nightmare firmly behind him.
The VW Motorsport driver felt unusually uncomfortable on Spain’s loose surface stages and found himself 36.6s off team-mate Sébastien Ogier’s rally-leading pace at the end of the first day.
He clawed back some time when the rally route moved on to asphalt roads and was only 11.3s behind Ogier at the end of the event. But the Finn knows he has some work to do if he’s going to end the season on a high at Wales Rally GB (13-16 November) – an event he’s won twice before.
“I was not on this planet when the rally started in Spain,” Latvala explained. “I felt really bad and was driving badly.
"In my mind, I was prepared for Tarmac a lot. I drove 1,000 kilometres on Tarmac since the last time on gravel and it was difficult to switch the mode to gravel.”
Latvala is working on making some specific improvements to his driving style while he’s behind the wheel of VW’s Polo R WRC test car today in the hope that it will bring him good fortune next month.
“I know where I can improve,” the world championship runner-up said. “I’m a little bit too hard with the gravel tyres at the moment and I need to improve my tyre wear.
“Rally GB is one of my favourite events. I finished second there last year but this time I really want to fight for the victory. That would be a nice way to end my best-ever season in the WRC.”
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