22 March 2007
Q&A: Jari-Matti Latvala - EXCLUSIVE.
This is of course your first full year in the WRC at the 'senior' level. You competed in the Production Car WRC last year as well as doing four events with the Stobart team. How useful was all that experience?
Well this year I am doing all the rounds and it is a big opportunity for me now. Everything depends on me. Basically the car is brilliant and I have a great team, so everything comes down to me and how I drive.
Last year we did the P-WRC and four rounds with the Stobart car, as you say, but three of the rounds with the Stobart car were on tarmac and the Group N car is different to drive to a WRC car. You get good experience of the rallies with a Group N car, but then it is different when you jump into a World Rally Car - the speed is different. But still the experience was good. I would say there are still lots of things to learn this year with the World Rally Car.
Is it easier now that you are with the Stobart team full time, rather than having to swap between the PWRC and the 'senior' level?
Now it is good as we are with the same car all the time. When you are changing from one car to another you always need a few kilometres again to get use to the car. So now that is easier.
Also the new car, the 06 car, seems to be a very, very nice car. Last year we did three rounds with the 05 car and one round, the last round, with the 06. I would say it is now quite good to drive but still there is a big challenge to get the experience and still try to go fast.
How are you getting on with your Stobart team-mates, Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson? Do you work together and help each other?
We are working very well together and they are very nice guys. We have a good feeling in the team and when we are in the rallies we talk a lot about set-ups and tyre choices. Of course there are things which you can learn from each other. We have a good team.
Have you been told by Stobart/M-Sport team boss, Malcolm Wilson exactly what they expected from you?
Malcolm is giving me some instructions in the rallies, how to drive and so on. I think it is very important that he tries to help me to understand how I can improve myself. I really appreciate the feedback which I am getting from Malcolm.
What's the target for the season for you? At the end, what will you need to have done for you to consider it a success?
I would say if we can improve our driving from the previous year, if I am better as a driver compared to 2006, then that is the important thing. But also what I want to do, by the end of the year, is to get so that I am fighting for maybe top three places and get to the podium. If we can get one place on the podium that would be a great thing, a really great thing and I would be really happy. However, the most important thing is if I can take a step forward compared to 2006.
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