Latvala to race at Nurburgring

Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala to swap Focus RS rally car for Focus circuit racer as he gears up to take in the Nurburgring 24-hour race next month.
Jari-Matti Latvala will tackle the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring next month, it was announced earlier this week.

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver, who has won two world rallies in his career, will drive a Ford Focus RS prepared by the Team FH Köln Motorsport (students from the University of Cologne).

Latvala enjoyed his first taste of the demanding circuit when he competed in Saturday's second round of the VLN (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring, after which the 25-year-old was enthusiastic about the infamous 'Green Hell'.

"Obviously my expectations were very high. The Nordschleife has a fearsome reputation and having now driven all of these curves, I can understand the reasons behind that," said Latvala. "It demands the utmost respect, but I found the experience to be thrilling. The race isn't going to be relaxing, but they say that a change is as good as a rest. We will soon see what kind of a rest this will be. I am really looking forward to this race.

"I was extremely impressed with the car. I'm used to the four-wheel drive of my Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, but I was genuinely surprised by the good traction available from this front-wheel drive touring car."

It will be the first 24-hour race for the young Finn. In fact, prior to Saturday's test drive, he had never even raced on a closed circuit.

The event though will be perfect preparation for the WRC's four asphalt fixtures later this season in Bulgaria, Germany, France and Spain.

"With every kilometre of the Nordschleife, Jari-Matti's experience with this kind of surface will grow," added Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn. "That could really help him when he comes to the tricky asphalt rallies later in the WRC season."

Latvala will be partnered by three other experienced circuit drivers during the Nurburgring 24-hour race - namely Anja Wassertheurer, Daniela Schmid and Stefan Schlesack. Latvala, Wassertheurer and Schmid finished third in class in Saturday's test race.

Related Pictures

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

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Alex Kulcsar - Unregistered

April 14, 2010 11:42 PM

It's always fun to see World Championship level drivers venturing into other arenas...sadly it's something of a rarity in this specialized era. Since the Rally Deutschland joined the schedule I've held that a single lap around the old 'ring would make an excellent special stage. Since the event is held in the Mosel Valley it isn't too far out of the way either.

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