WRC » 28 May 2013
Latvala 'ideally' out to fight for victory in Greece
Jari-Matti Latvala eyes error-free run on Acropolis, admits a podium finish is 'really important'
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala is 'ideally' aiming to fight it out for the victory in Greece this coming weekend.
Latvala took his second podium in succession last time out in Argentina and after a very positive finish to the event in South America he will want to continue in the same vein on the sixth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship.
“I prepared really well for this rally by spending two days testing in Greece after I got back from Argentina,” said the Finn.
“The key issue for me was working on the Polo R WRC's suspension and traction. The latter is particularly important in Greece because there are lots of crests and jumps.
“Last year, I spent a lot of time fighting for the lead in Greece until I made a mistake which caused a tyre to burst and put me back in third place. This time, I want to complete an error-free run and ideally fight to win.
“A podium finish would be really important, especially for the manufacturers' championship.”
As for the event itself, Latvala concedes it is a real acid test for man and machine: “The Rally Greece is the hardest WRC race of the year. The gravel roads are among the toughest challenges the World Rally Championship has to offer. Very fast sections on relatively rough, hard surfaces alternate at times with slower, smoother parts. That means you face totally different conditions from one minute to the next and have to be ready for anything," he explained.
“With some 300 kilometres' worth of stages, the Rally Greece is really short, which means that you have to be fast right from the start and find your rhythm quickly.
"But there are also some special stages where going easy on the car has to be a priority. It's all about getting the compromise right,” he added.
Volkswagen Motorsport director, Jost Capito meanwhile agrees the Acropolis is the most difficult event on the WRC schedule: “In the World Rally Championship, you never have long after successfully tackling a challenge before you face the next one. Having scored points finishes with all three Polo R WRCs at the end of the Rally Argentina, we're hoping to perform similarly well in Greece. We're delighted to be taking part in it for the first time with our Polo R WRC.
"Now that the legendary Safari Rally is no longer part of the WRC calendar though, the Rally Greece is undoubtedly the toughest challenge of the year for all the teams,” he stated.
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