Latvala confident of challenging champion

Jari-Matti Latvala says he feels confident of challenging team-mate Sebastien Ogier during the 2014 WRC season
Jari-Matti Latvala has reiterated his belief that he can take the fight to Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier during the 2014 World Rally Championship season.

The Finn finished third in the standings last season having made the move from M-Sport to the German manufacturer, with his only victory of the season coming in Greece.

Ogier by contrast won no fewer than nine times en-route to his maiden championship title, although Latvala insisted there were plenty of positives to take away from 2013 after following his team-mate home to take second place in the season finale in Wales back in November.

The 28-year-old will now hope to build on his first season at the wheel of the Polo WRC when the 2014 campaign kicks off in Monte Carlo later this month, and he said he was aware of what he needed to do to take the fight to his title-winning team-mate.

“I need more consistency,” he told Crash.net in an interview conducted by George East. “It has taken me a bit longer than I expected to get myself and the car in perfect harmony, but now I am much more in tune with the car than I was twelve months ago.

“To match Sebastien though, I must be more consistent and not make even small mistakes. Seb's strength has been a combination of pace and perfection - he doesn't make mistakes. If I want to match him, or beat him, I must avoid even small mistakes.”

Alongside improving his consistency, Latvala admitted that he needed to work on the mental side of his game to also ensure he maintains his concentration behind the wheel.

“Clearly my weak point has been a lack of consistency,” he said. “I've allowed small mistakes to creep back in to my driving. I am working on this in several ways, but most of all I need to improve on the mental side. I have no doubt that I am a match for anyone behind the wheel, but sometimes the focus and concentration hasn't been right.

“If it were I would not be making mistakes.”

Full interview available - HERE.

Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
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January 03, 2014 9:36 AM

Good luck to him but it is hard to see it. He has the raw speed but Loeb/Ogier etc can maintain this speed right up to the line stage after stage.......not sure Jari knows where that line is and either crashes or has to drive at 95% for a finish as a result.


January 04, 2014 9:53 AM

Its tough, Im Not sure he can challenge Ogier for the Title, Maybe the odd win, I know people take the mickey because he has accidents, but all drivers crash, Loeb and Hirvonnen tend not to crash a lot and Ogier has seemingly gone through his share of them in the past and seems to be more like Loeb was now But Neuville was crashing a lot in 2012, Novikov in 2011 and 2013, Ostberg had a particularly bad year last year too, so he is not alone in crashing out. The difference is this Guy has the speed, I personally don't think he will beat Ogier this year, I think he will be up there towards the front getting podiums with Hirvonnen, and possibly get 2 or 3 wins maybe. I don't think Ogier will have too much trouble leading the WRC early on in the season, he knows the car and the Team and he knows the roads too, there will be a lot of caution in the first half of the season as drivers get to know their cars and learn the set ups, and people like Meeke and Evans even have to learn the Ralli

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