Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala
has said he is confident his collarbone injury won't be a problem on the Acropolis Rally.
Latvala had to sit out the event in Argentina at the end of last month, but was happy with his level of fitness last week during a two-day test in Portugal. Indeed he completed around 440 km at the wheel of his Fiesta RS WRC and reported no discomfort.
He was also pleased with some of the changes made to his car ahead of the sixth round in the 2012 World Rally Championship.
“I was surprised how good it felt [during the test],” Latvala reflected. “I wore padding under the HANS device to spread the pressure across my chest and shoulders and it worked perfectly.
“We planned a shorter first day, but with no problems I drove a full schedule on the second day on a rougher road, and I felt no pain in my collarbone or shoulder. My recovery schedule has been tight but I'm confident I won't have to worry about the injury.
“We worked on the suspension and made a step forward, with the car feeling better in bedrock conditions. After so long out of the car I felt so happy and relieved that my skills were still there!”
Latvala has good experience of the Acropolis, dating back to 2003 when as an 18-year-old he finished 10th on his World Rally Car debut.
This year will mark his eighth start in Greece and while he will be keen to do well after a difficult start to 2012, he knows the event is renowned for being extremely tough.
“It will be a hard rally and Saturday's leg will be especially difficult. It's longer than last year, with two passes over a new 21km stage, and it will be tough for the tyres in the heat.
"It will be important to manage the tyres well because tyre wear could be the most important aspect. You can drive at 95 per cent in those conditions, but to drive at 100 per cent all the time would be risky,” he warned.