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Q&A: Jari-Matti Latvala - EXCLUSIVE.

by Russell Atkins

Stobart VK M-Sport star Jari-Matti Latvala stunned the world rallying community on last weekend's Wales Rally GB, with a career-best finish in only his first outing in a 2006-spec Ford Focus.

The 21-year-old – the latest in a long line of Flying Finns at the very tip of the sport – registered his third top eight placing of a ten-round campaign with a battling fourth place in the challenging Welsh forests, as he marks himself out as a man to watch in years to come. Here he reflects on the highlight of his career so far and a season that has just got better and better…

Q:
That was a fantastic performance, wasn't it?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Yes. It was a very good weekend for us. There were no major mistakes and we had a good clear run.

Q:
How did the car feel throughout the rally?

J-ML:
It's a brilliant car to drive. The new Ford Focus seems very reliable and it's a very fast car.

Q:
What were the conditions like out there in the forests?

J-ML:
Because this rally is in early December, when I came here I was thinking it would be really slippery. Ok, it was slippery, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be. There were sections where it was very muddy but there were others where there was quite good grip.

Q:
And you enjoyed the event?

J-ML:
Definitely. It was my fifth time and this was the best one yet!

Q:
Looking back on your year as a whole, how happy are you with how it has gone?

J-ML:
I'm quite pleased. The beginning of the season was quite tough – we had problems and I was making mistakes – but by the end of the season it started to get better. I think there was a personal growing-up happening at the end of the year, and that helped me to get these results.

Q:
Have there been any particular highlights or low points from the season?

J-ML:
This was the highlight of my season! The lowest moment I think was going off the road in Corsica and breaking my right thumb.

Q:
What are you now looking forward to in 2007?

J-ML:
I hope I can do as many world rallies as possible.

Q:
And maybe getting on the podium along the way?

J-ML:
Of course. This result has given me more self-confidence. If I can do lots of rallies next year we will try to get on the podium, but it's not going to be easy.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Mikka Anttila (FIN), Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Jari-Matti Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Mikka Anttila (FIN), Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Markku Alen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Neste Oil Helsinki Battle 2014 [Pic credit: VW]
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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