Jari-Matti Latvala enjoyed an action packed start to his assault on Rally Argentina during the opening day, despite admitting he was taking it easy and driving for a finish following his accident in Portugal.
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver started the day with the quickest time on SS2 to move into the lead of the event before he eased off slightly through the remainder of the morning to return to service in fifth place – less than ten seconds away from the lead of the event.
Things went wrong on the opening stage of the afternoon when Latvala he damaged a wheel on a jump and lost nearly a minute, but a trouble-free run through the remaining tests saw him hold sixth at the end of the day, just over a minute away from the rally lead.
"I approached a crest too quickly and the car landed on the rear right wheel,” he said. “The impact pushed the tyre from the rim and I drove for 12km like that. Then something blocked the car's cooling system and the water temperature rose to 115ºC so I eased off. This afternoon there were many rocks hitting the car's sump guard and today was the most difficult I've experienced in Argentina. I had no fear after my accident but found it difficult to regain my rhythm. I put less information into my pace notes and they worked well, as I don't have too much detail to absorb."
Team boss Malcolm Wilson was pleased to see Latvala come through the day unscathed, but admitted it was another day full of action for his young charger.
“It was a good confidence building day for Jari-Matti, which, coupled with two fastest stage times have given him assurance going into the second leg,” he said. “But nothing is ever quiet with Jari-Matti. He won two stages, suffered a puncture and damaged his car's cooling package - and that was supposed to be a steady day!"