4 October 2011
Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Jari-Matti Latvala looks back on Rallye de France, the eleventh round in the 2011 World Rally Championship, in his latest exclusive column for Crash.net.
In Jari-Matti Latvala's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man reflects on Rallye de France, where he took his very first Power Stage win...
I'm pleased with how things went last weekend in France, because I think it was the best performance I have ever produced on tarmac and in the end I was really quick in my Ford Fiesta RS WRC car.
Unfortunately, though, the final result doesn't tell the whole story and is not a true reflection of just how competitive we were, as we lost a lot of time on Friday when I went slightly off the road in SS3.
That happened because we were on the soft tyres for the first loop of stages. It was a risky choice, but we wanted to see how things would work on them even though the conditions looked like they would probably favour the harder option.
Apart from that one test, however, we set good times in all the stages and I didn't really have any other moments, except a spin in the second stage on Sunday morning. We only lost ten seconds there, though, and I was still fourth-quickest. It was nothing like the 80 seconds we conceded on Friday morning in Pays d'Ormont 1.
Throughout the three days, the speed was really evident and in total we set 18 top three times and took five stage wins from a possible six on the final day. That was most encouraging.
The win in the Power Stage in Haguenau, Sébastien Loeb's home city, was also great and gave me a real confidence lift.
It was my very first Power Stage win, so that was special. It also came on tarmac, which I didn't expect, so it means even more.
I am not usually so good in these short super special like tests - and this test was a bit like one of those at only 4.20km long. I actually enjoyed driving this one, however. It was a really nice test. I had a good feeling last year in it and I felt the same when I returned to do the stage this time too, even on the first run [as SS20]. I felt like I would be able to fight for the Power Stage win and I gave it my all. It went really well and it was good to beat all my rivals by over two seconds, especially given the test was so short.
It was a nice way to end the event as well, one that marked my 100th WRC run with Miikka [Anttila – my co-driver]. The Power Stage win was a nice way to celebrate that, but what we are really happy about is having made a big step forward with ourselves and with the car on tarmac.
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