In Jari-Matti Latvala's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man reflects on the second round in Mexico, where he was once again on the podium, despite suffering two punctures, one of which cost him more than two minutes.
At the end of Rally Mexico I was more than satisfied with third in my Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car because normally it is not possible to do that - especially if you have two punctures and have to stop in an actual stage and change the tyre, as I did in SS4 on the opening day.
That was a frustrating start. I had opted to go quite cautiously in the first stage on the Friday and then the next one went well and I was third fastest. It looked promising and I thought: 'This could be a really good rally for me'.
However in El Cubilete 1 [SS4], we had only done 4 or 5 kilometres, and I started to feel that the tyre was going down. We still had 13 kilometres to go and as we had so much of the stage left, we had no option but to stop and change it.
We did it in a very good location, in a safe place, on a long, long straight. We were struggling a bit with the seatbelts and I struggled getting the punctured tyre in the car. It was halfway off the rim and it was tough to get it in the boot. We lost some time with that.
But we still did it in just over two minutes and while we dropped from fourth to ninth, we were back up in fourth at the end of the opening leg after some of my rivals also had problems.
On day two I wanted to push a bit harder, but 5 kilometres before the end of SS11 - the very first test of the day - I felt the same thing happen as on the Friday. The tyre was slowly going down and we had another slow puncture.
Luckily this time we didn't have that far to go and I tried to keep going as quickly as possible. About 1 kilometre from the end the tyre was pretty much completely deflated and I had to drive very slowly to the finish. But we only lost just over 20 seconds.
Like on Friday though, I didn't hit anything. What we think now after the rally is that both of those punctures were not because of impacts with any rocks. It was more the impact with the compression places.
There are many compression zones in Mexico and I believe those compressions caused the punctures.