Jari-Matti Latvala has said he is confident of a 'strong result' on Rally Italia Sardegna this weekend.
Latvala won the previous loose surface round in Wales last month, to add to career-best performances on asphalt in Germany and France, and the Finn is feeling bullish ahead of the penultimate round in the 2012 World Rally Championship, although news today that Ford has pulled the plug on its works involvement [see separate story – HERE
], will no doubt put a downer on preparations.
“The usual stages [in Sardinia] have a thin layer of fine gravel on the surface which makes them slippery for the first pass. The team has always been strong here, however, and after making a step forward in pace at the last gravel rally in Wales, I'm confident of another strong result,” said the 27-year-old, who claimed his second career WRC win in Sardinia back in 2009.
Meanwhile, with rivals Citroen
having secured both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles in France, Latvala noted that the target now is very simple for these final two rounds.
“That changes the situation. Chasing wins has been obviously been a target throughout the season but points finishes no longer have any real meaning, so victories are our only real goal now,” he added.
Latvala's co-driver, Miikka Anttila, meanwhile is hopeful they can do well on the remaining two events and said as much after the last event in France, although interestingly he reckons they will be stronger in Spain, as opposed to Sardinia.
“Yes, probably two,” he replied when asked if there is likely to be another win for them this season.
“For some reason, Sardinia has been one of the favourites of Jari-Matti and we have won that rally once. I think we have a small chance for victory over there.
“In Spain [the final event], the tarmac will suit us better than any other tarmac of this year.
“This is our best chance, especially because we have one day on gravel. The chance, the realistic chance, is Spain and we said this from the start of the year. Here [in France] we were only 15secs behind Seb [Loeb] - [and] in Spain it's realistic [to think we can win].”