Jari-Matti Latvala has predicted a close fight in his home round of the World Rally
Championship next weekend in Finland.
The Ford man goes into the event aiming to repeat his 2010 success as he looks to move up from sixth in the championship standings.
Latvala has also finished on the podium in his last three attempts at the event and he admitted that the pre-event test carried out by Ford would be crucial to his chances.
“This is a sprint in the truest sense,” he said. “The pace is such that time differences are small and if you make a mistake there's no opportunity to regain the seconds lost. Every error is magnified.
“Pre-event testing is more important here than elsewhere because you must start the rally 100 per cent happy with the car set-up and feeling.”
Latvala added that getting the famous jumps on the event right would also be vital to ensuring success.
“When you approach a big jump at 180kph it's essential to kill the speed before take-off,” he said. “If the speed is too high, the aerodynamics will force the back of the car down and the front, which is lighter, will rise.
“The tactic is to brake, perhaps drop a gear, and accelerate full throttle over the jump. Braking over the jump itself means the suspension isn't free and the landing could be bad.”