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Norway rostrum leaves Latvala happy and disappointed

BP Ford Abu Dhabi number two driver Jari-Matti Latvala had mixed feelings after finishing in third in Norway last weekend, the second round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.

Latvala claimed third in the first 'proper' stage on Friday and while he was unable to match the pace of the top two - his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen and eventual winner, Sebastien Loeb, the 23-year-old was comfortably faster than anyone else and finished more than two minutes clear of the fourth-placed Focus RS WRC of Henning Solberg.

However, during the opening loops on both days one and two, the Finn struggled to find a good feeling with his car and that ended up costing him dear. Indeed it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that he really seemed to get in the groove, when he topped the times in SS15 and SS16.

By then though it was all a bit late and with third virtually assured, he adopted a risk-free policy through the final leg, although he did manage to overshot a junction on the last stage.

"I'm happy to score a podium but at the same time disappointed not to be able to fight for victory,” he conceded. “They are good points for myself and the team but my chances really ended on Saturday morning.

“I should have softened the suspension settings earlier so I can look in the mirror and see the reason why I didn't challenge the top two drivers. If I could start this weekend again, I would redo the mornings. The grip level was good then and I should have trusted that and taken greater advantage.

“Today I have been cruising around. I really needed to finish this rally. It's been a tough start to the year for me, like last year.”

So has he got the season underway properly now, after the disappointment in Ireland?

“I'm not thinking about Ireland any more,” he added. “Even though I was unable to fight for the victory, this weekend has taught me how to prepare for the rallies, the constant driving and no mistakes.

“It's about building the self-confidence. It's a good level for the next rallies. Now I need more speed, step-by-step.”


Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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