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Q&A: Jari-Matti Latvala - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH JARI-MATTI LATVALA: CLICK HERE


Jari-Matti Latvala will make his competitive debut with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team on the Rallye Monte Carlo - the first round in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship. Crash.net Radio caught up with the Finn recently and got his thoughts ahead of the start of the new season...


Crash.net:
Jari, there is not long to go now ahead of your debut with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Are you feeling well prepared for the Rallye Monte Carlo?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Yeah, I have a good feeling. We have been at M-Sport for four days now and have been getting ourselves familiar with the new car. I have done quite a lot of testing too. I am confident and we have a test on Saturday [January 19] and hopefully we can get a good set-up for Monte Carlo.

Crash.net:
Where are you hoping to finish on the Monte?

J-ML
I would say if I can finish in the top-five I would be very satisfied.

Crash.net:
Is the Rallye Monte Carlo an event you like?

J-ML
Monte Carlo is very difficult and it is always a very hard rally for all the drivers. It is not so easy to enjoy because there are some big challenges to get through during the rally. But if it is snowy I hope it will suit my driving style. It should be a good rally also for the Ford Focus. Marcus Gronholm won the rally in 2006. It should be good for the Ford team.

Crash.net:
How much would it help you if there is snow at the Principality?

J-ML
It should help me and my driving style because I have been a bit too aggressive and I have been changing it quite a lot. I believe mixed conditions should be good for me - if there is a lot of snow and then dry tarmac and even wet tarmac. I am not so good on wet tarmac but in snowy conditions I should be able to do well.

Crash.net:
You will obviously use the '07 Focus this year, have you noticed much difference during testing between that spec car and the one you drove last season with the Stobart Ford team?

J-ML
The difference between the 07 and 06 spec cars is not huge. There is a little bit of difference in the suspension. The 07 car has a bit better traction. But basically the engines are completely the same. They are very close to each other. It mainly depends on the driver.

Crash.net:
How have you found the Pirelli tyres in testing? Is there a big difference?

J-ML:
On dry tarmac they are working quite well. In the wet conditions I need to do some more testing - and the same on snow too. They are different to what we had last year and the tyres look completely different. Also we don't have [run-flat] mousse, which means there will be less cutting and you might have a puncture in the rally, which will effect things quite a lot. You could lose the win if you have a puncture. It means you have to change the driving style a little bit to be more careful. But otherwise the tyres are the same for everybody.

Crash.net:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Stobart Ford Focus WRC 06. Rallye Deutschland, 17-19th August 2007.
Mark Deans, Malcolm Wilson, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala pose alongside the Focus RS WRC car in its new livery for the 2008 WRC season. [Pic credit: Ford]
Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen, Malcolm Wilson and Mark Deans on stage at the Autosport Show. January 2008. [Pic credit: Ford]
Sebastien Ogier collects his WRC champion`s trophy at the FIA Prizegiving in Doha
Ford Olsbergs MSE celebrates winning the RX Teams` Championship
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Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
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Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Nasser Al Attiyah, Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC, #40), WRC 2 World Champions
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Nasser Al Attiyah, Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC, #40), WRC 2 World Champions
Nasser Al Attiyah, Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC, #40)

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