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Latvala: It felt a bit like the Dakar to me
16 September 2013
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala had to be content with fourth place on Rally Australia last weekend and at the finish he conceded the event 'didn't go quite as smoothly as he would have liked'.
Latvala struggles began in qualifying on the Thursday when he was disappointingly only eighth quickest in his Polo R WRC.
That left him with a poor starting position and he paid the price on Friday morning as he had to 'sweep' the road for his rivals.
Although he recovered on the repeat loop and hauled himself up from P8 to P5, he had more problems on Saturday, with a spin in SS12 costing him around 10-15 seconds.
Nevertheless though he gained two places in the next stage, when Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg ahead both had their own dramas, and Latvala then remained in P4 right to the finish, despite a puncture in the event ending Power Stage, that cost him over a minute.
“Right from the start, we were aiming to collect as many points as possible for the Manufacturers' Championship, and we succeeded [in that sense],” Latvala said following round ten in the 2013 World Rally Championship. “However, things didn't go quite as smoothly as we would have liked – the car span [in SS12 on Saturday] and we had a puncture too right at the end.
“For me, the rally felt a bit like we were struggling through the desert before finally arriving in Dakar at the end. But all that matters ultimately is the result, and it was a good one for Volkswagen.”
Latvala also revealed that he was very happy with his car by the end of the four-days and is confident that will stand him in good stead in the future.
“On another positive note, I found my Polo's perfect set-up for fast gravel rallies here, which will come in very handy for other rallies,” he confirmed.