Jari-Matti Latvala put 'black August' firmly behind him on the Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada on Sunday when he finished sixth and scored points for the first time since the Rally of Turkey back in June.
Latvala, who was back competing under the Stobart banner in Spain, struggled over the opening two days to find a good feeling with his Focus RS WRC07 and rebuild his confidence following three accidents in as many World Rally Championship events.
On the Sunday, however, the Finn was a changed man setting some great stage times including a second fastest effort on the 16.32 kilometre Riudecanyes 2 test. In the end his efforts on the final loop were enough to just overhaul Chris Atkinson, edging out the Aussie by 1.1 seconds.
"This rally started off quite frustrating for me but actually, when I look back, it was positive and we found a good setting," said Latvala. "Without a test before the event it took us some time to get things feeling the way I wanted and Friday morning was frustrating as I didn't have a good feeling and also my confidence was low. But we changed some things and I started to drive a bit less aggressively and that seemed to work.
"The setting we found on Saturday is working and the first stage we had today was great – I can say it was one of my best stages on tarmac this year.
"Now the car setup is right I have the confidence to push some more so from that point of view it has been very productive. Also I'm pleased to have scored some more points for my old team Stobart and hopefully I can repeat this next week in Corsica."
Stobart Group CEO Andrew Tinkler meanwhile was happy too and with Latvala sixth and Matthew Wilson ninth in the sister car - picking up the final manufacturers' point - the Blue Oval's 'B' team increased its tally for the year to 55 points.
"This has been another proud day for our Stobart team and after learning his trade with us last year it has been fantastic to see Jari-Matti back in the squad and scoring points," Tinkler summed-up. "Matthew has also done a great job here and both crews have been consistently improving throughout the weekend. Corsica is only a few days away and I believe it will be a strong event after the progress the team have made here."