Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala
was 'very satisfied' after taking third on Rally Italia Sardegna this weekend, although he freely admitted that he could have done better.
Latvala went into the seventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship on a high after notching up his debut victory with VW in Greece.
However, he found himself immediately on the back-foot when he picked up a puncture in the opening stage on Friday, something that cost him almost two minutes. Despite that though, he charged back, winning six stages and eventually hauling himself up from 12th to take the final spot on the rostrum.
Speaking at the finish, Latvala added though that the puncture was due to a lack of care in the recce: “Third place is a fantastic result overall - but we could have done better. The flat tyre in the first stage was nobody's fault but our own - we should have been more observant during the recce and should have had that spot of the track in our pace notes,” he confirmed.
“Losing two minutes as a result was disappointing at first. I got a bit depressed and I thought I lost the chances for the podium,” he continued. “I was thinking maybe top seven or top six would be possible.
"Then suddenly I wanted to do good stage times and I started to go better and better. Then we got into the top five, then finally at the end of the rally I am top three so I can be very satisfied for what we have achieved during the weekend.
“It [the puncture] also gave us the opportunity to attack without any pressure and to challenge our competitors. Our speed was very good throughout the rally, and that's what allowed us to grapple our way back up from twelfth to third place. The team played a big part in that too, so thanks for that, guys.”
Looking to the next round, which takes place in his native country, Latvala noted he has a 'good feeling', although he knows it won't be easy to beat his team-mate, Sebastien Ogier.
“I really felt at home in the Polo R WRC [this weekend] and will tackle my home rally in Finland filled with confidence. It's going to be exciting! I have really a good feeling. The car feels very good [too]. [But] Ogier is the man with pace at the moment. He is strong in every condition. We will need to have a perfect rally if we want to win,” Latvala summed-up.