Jari-Matti Latvala posted the quickest time in shakedown for the latest round of the World Rally Championship in Japan.
The BP Ford
Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver set a time of 2min 33.1secs on the mile-long stage, which was run in the Sapporo Dome and is unrepresentative of what drivers can expect from the stages over the next three days.
Latvala completed ten runs through the stage and was 0.4secs quicker than Sebastien Loeb
despite the Frenchman completing six runs fewer.
“I did ten runs, Loeb only four so maybe I should have had the best time when I did so much running,” Latvala said. “I needed to improve myself in this area, I don't feel my performance on the super special stage is as good as it could be and that's why I wanted to do some more running.
“I have set myself the target of the podium and will be very happy if I do that on this event.”
Behind the top two, Dani Sordo was third for the Citroen
Junior Team with Sebastien Ogier, Matthew Wilson
and Petter Solberg
completing the top six.
Mikko Hirvonen was seventh in the second factory Fords while Kimi Raikkonen was eighth, despite his shakedown ending in disappointing fashion when he made contact with a concrete block on the side of the stage and took the front-right wheel off his car.
“It was just inside the corner – the front-right, it took off the front-right corner,” he said. “I'm not too bothered about it. They will fix the car and we can go this evening.”
The event gets underway today with two runs through the Sapporo stage.