Jari-Matti Latvala has vowed to 'drive as fast as he can' in Wales in a bid to fight for the victory and help his Ford Abu Dhabi team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, beat Sébastien Loeb in the battle for the 2011 WRC drivers' title.
Latvala, who is already guaranteed fourth in the final drivers' standings, has put in a stellar performance in the last few rallies and he is now hoping to use all his experience of Rally GB, the 13th and final round of the year, to end the season on a high.
“I want to fight for victory and to try to be in a position to help Mikko,” confirmed the Crash.net
columnist ahead of what will be his ninth start in Wales. “Our target is to aim for first and second places.
“It's important for the team to put myself ahead of Loeb and take points away from him, so I'll drive as fast as I can from the start.
“It will be vital to be sharp and up to speed from the very first kilometre, because if we allow Loeb to build a lead it will be hard to pull him back.
“I have more experience of this rally than any other WRC round, although this year's route is different.
“We drive from north Wales to the south and the last time that happened in this rally was more than 15 years ago.
“I'm looking forward to the new stages though. I drove them when I began competing in Britain in 2002 and I recall the roads in Dyfi Forest as being the best in Wales,” added the 26-year-old.
Meanwhile, with Khalid Al Qassimi unavailable due to commitments at the F1 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Evgeny Novikov will take over the third Fiesta RS WRC for Team Abu Dhabi.
“It's a hugely exciting opportunity to step into Khalid's Fiesta RS WRC for the final WRC rally of 2011,” said Novikov, who sampled a Citroen DS3 WRC car last time out in Spain, finshing seventh overall, his best result of the year. “The Wales road surfaces can be very challenging in rain and fog, so I'm hoping for clear conditions and targeting a strong finish in support of my team-mates, who are competing for the drivers' championship.”