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Latvala: I should have won a title for Ford
13 November 2012
Jari-Matti Latvala admits that he should have helped Ford to win a World Rally Championship title during his time as driver for the M-Sport-run team.
The curtain fell on Ford's factory programme in Spain at the weekend with Latvala also competing for the Blue Oval for the final time before he moves to Volkswagen for the 2013 campaign.
A podium finish in Spain allowed Latvala to depart having finished inside the top three in the championship for the second time in the last three years – with the Finn edging ahead of Mads Ostberg in the standings.
However, Latvala admitted that he should have helped Ford to better results during his time behind the wheel of both the Focus and the Fiesta and hadn't been consistent enough to challenge Sebastien Loeb and Citroen.
“We had a very emotional moment at the last service,” he said at the end of the Spanish event. “For five years I drove with a factory team and we have had a great time, a fantastic time.
“In a way I am disappointed in these years that I couldn't deliver the manufacturers' or drivers' championship. The car was very competitive, but we didn't have the consistency. I would push too hard and then go off the road. I should have learned, but it looks like I am a slow learner – I hope this will come! For the future, of course, I wish M-Sport well.
“I know my weakness areas and I will work on them. If I lose time, then I push harder and try to catch back the time and then I go off the road, instead of admitting and accepting the situation. When I don't have the feeling to drive at the speed, I need to realise this.
“This afternoon I could push, but it's just doing the limit and then understanding when you have the moment… it's about when to push hard and when you are pushing and you will go off. It's a difficult situation about knowing when you can push.”
Latvala now hopes to get permission from Ford to start work with Volkswagen behind the wheel of the Polo WRC that he will use in 2013 and he said he was hopeful of being able to challenge for the crown next year.
“In the coming week I meet the team and then they have a big testing plan for the end of November and December,” he said. “We have the permission from M-Sport to do the test, but we need confirmation from Ford to do this testing. We are still waiting for confirmation from Ford.
“We will have a new champion for the first time in many seasons [next season]; it will be very interesting. Personally I have wanted to beat Loeb, but it doesn't work out. But with guys doing the full championship, with Ogier and Mikko, and probably Ford drivers, it can be strong, so I hope to be there fighting for the championship. But I don't know about the car. We need to see how the car is and give some time for the car, but the team will be big and this will be a big challenge.”