Q&A with Jari-Matti Latvala after Rallye du Var

Ford’s Finnish flyer on maiden asphalt victory

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By www.wrc.com

30 November 2011 - 16:48
Q&A with Jari-Matti Latvala (...)

Jari-Matti Latvala did something he’d never done before when he claimed victory on Rallye du Var last weekend.

His triumph on the French Rally Championship event was his first on asphalt and he was naturally thrilled afterwards.

It might not have been a world championship rally but finally you’re a winner on Tarmac Jari-Matti. How good does it feel?

“It felt really good and I’m very happy, in fact I’m relieved. For some time I’ve been trying to win my first Tarmac event but my skills have not been enough. Now with this outcome of my efforts have paid off.”

How much of an influence did your strong form in the second half of the WRC season have on your success on Rallye du Var?

“We showed our level in France and Spain but for this rally we were not sure how much of a factor the momentum we have would be because we were competing against the old-style WRC cars and the level of those cars was not clear before the start. Also, they were using a slick tyre while we stuck to the WRC tyres we have used all season. The French championship is strong and there are some good drivers like Stephane Sarrazin. I had to be quick but I did not push too much.”

Rallye du Var is regarded as being a tough event to master. Do you agree?

“Honestly they were difficult stages. The surface was abrasive like in Corsica, there were some bumpy sections but also some smooth roads like Catalunya. Like Corsica you were going from corner to corner but the corners were faster so it was more demanding. It definitely helps to have some knowledge because sometimes my notes were not always perfect.”

You were testing some new components on your Fiesta RS WRC. What areas were you working on?

“We were concentrating a lot on the suspension and also with some developments on the engine mapping. There was a lot of moisture on the stages in the morning with dry and damp places so the grip level was always changing. We could nominate 14 tyres and we chose to nominate 14 hard compound tyres so in that sense it was a good experience because we could work out a good set-up for the suspension in damp, dry and mixed conditions. These were some of the questions we really wanted to answer before the event.”

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