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Latvala: We need maximum points.

Jari-Matti Latvala will return to the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team fold in Japan this coming weekend and with the M-Sport-run outfit 23 points behind Citroen in the manufacturers' championship the pressure is definitely on.

Indeed realistically the 'Blue Oval' must take the maximum points' haul in Sapporo and that will require Jari-Matti and team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to finish one-two, a tall order.

But now the World Rally Championship is back on the loose, something that should suit the Focus' more than the recent asphalt events in Spain and France, it isn't by any means out of the question.

Latvala is also feeling more confident - and has firmly put 'black' August, in which he had three accidents in as many events, behind him.

In addition having taken a 'moral' podium in Corsica he will want to maintain that form and re-cement his position in the 'A' team.

"Mikko and I have to try to take maximum points in Japan and keep the Citroens behind us," said the 23-year-old.

"I'm happy to be back on gravel but I enjoyed the last two days' driving in Corsica which boosted my confidence. I was happy with my pre-event test too in which I made good improvements to my dry weather suspension set-up."

As for the Rally Japan itself, like his team-mate, he knows the recce on Tuesday and Wednesday will be vital, especially as this year the Rally Japan is all-new having shifted from Obihiro to Sapporo.

"I'm told the stages are fast and similar to the roads we drove when the Rally Japan was based in Obihiro. Perhaps they are slightly rougher and narrower," he added.

"The recce will be very important though because everyone must write new pace notes. We have to be focused because otherwise it can affect the quality of the notes, and when they're not precise then it's difficult to trust them fully and to attack as much as normal."


Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC07, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team with George Black
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
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Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Volkswagen
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Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
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Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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