BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala was left feeling frustrated for the second event in succession last weekend, after an error on day two of the Rallye Deutschland cost him fifth place.

Latvala had been hoping for a top-five to make amends for his gaff on his home event earlier this month, when he crashed out of the Rally Finland in only the second 'proper' test.

The early signs were promising for the 23-year-old in Trier and he finished the first day having put in a mature drive to hold P5 just 17 seconds off asphalt specialist and WRC returnee Francois Duval.

All that hard work though was thrown away on Saturday, when he rolled his Focus RS WRC08 in SS9 and lost 90 seconds.

That dropped him down to tenth and while he made up a spot in the afternoon, he was unable to make any further headway after losing a minute in SS15 on Sunday, when he punctured his rear left tyre after landing on a kerb following jump.

"It was frustrating. It started well on Friday and I had a good position and feeling with the car but yesterday and today were just nightmares," he stated.

"At least I increased my asphalt experience though. It's the most difficult of the asphalt rallies as the surface changes all the time.

"I learned that on aggressive asphalt I'm OK, but on a smoother surface I'm far away in my car set-up and confidence level. I had a new experience in comparing Pirelli's hard and soft compound tyres. They did a good job for us and were strong.

"This rally also showed me how important mental preparation is. I need to work on that this week before Rally New Zealand and start from zero again to move forward. I also want to complete some asphalt training before the next rally on that surface in Spain in October."

Asked what went wrong on Saturday, Jari revealed that it was a pace-note error that was at fault - something that also cost him in Finland two weeks ago.

"I had a slight error in my pace notes about 3km from the finish [of SS9] and I came over a crest, flat out in fifth gear, into a chicane sooner than I expected," he recounted. "I was going too fast and tried to avoid the bales by going into a field alongside the road. There was a ditch between the road and the field and the car jumped and I rolled lightly into the field.

"It was stuck and I had to wait for people to push me out. It was hard to find my confidence after that. I was afraid in the braking areas and I was just braking too early."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment