BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team man Jari-Matti Latvala is targeting a top-five finish on the all-new Rallye de France next weekend, the eleventh round in the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship.

Latvala has enjoyed a great season so far and took his fifth podium of the season in Japan two weeks ago.

Now he is ready to return to asphalt and after a confidence boosting performance in Germany, the last tarmac round in the WRC, he is bullish about his prospects.

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"It is going to be interesting going to France as the event has now moved to a new location. It used to be in Corsica and that was one of my favourite tarmac rallies," Latvala said in his official column on Crash.net after Japan.

"Now though it is on the mainland and it is going to be different. I am still looking forward to it though, especially as I did so well in Germany.

"I have started to find a better rhythm on tarmac and I want to continue to improve on it. That's why it is going to be fun. I'm optimistic I can do well. My target will be the same as in Germany. I want to finish in the top-five."

So why was Germany such a boost?

"I just felt there that I was enjoying driving on asphalt as much as I have ever done," he continued. "It wasn't my best result on that surface because I finished third in Ireland in 2007, but I feel I have moved up a level on the last two asphalt rallies. It gives me a lot of confidence ahead of this rally."

Latvala meanwhile took part in a pre-event test close to Strasbourg at the end of last week and he is hopeful that will help him, although he knows the recce will be extra important, given it is another brand new event - like Turkey and Bulgaria earlier this year.

"We must write pace notes from a blank sheet because we've not driven the roads before, so it's vital we concentrate hard in the recce," he continued. "We're only allowed two passes through the stages so we must ensure they are as accurate as possible.

"When I looked at the route and saw it included vineyards and military roads, my first impressions were that this would be like Rallye Deutschland. But our engineers have looked at the stages and it seems the roads are more similar to those of the Monte Carlo Rally, especially the first leg," he summed-up.


To read Jari-Matti Latvala's last column CLICK HERE.