Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala achieved his pre-event target by finishing in the top-five on Rallye Monte Carlo last weekend, the 2014 WRC season opener.

The Finn has never gone particularly well on the Monte - retiring in his last two outings in 2013 and 2012 - and prior to the 82nd running he had only finished twice, his best result coming when he was 12th in 2008. However, he stuck to the plan this year and while he had some problems, and freely admitted he was too cautious in the snow on Thursday morning - something that left him down in 18th, he bounced back.

Indeed despite having to stop and change puncture in SS9 on Saturday, when he clipped a kerb, he kept pushing, winning three stages in total, including the event ending Power Stage, en-route to P5.

Related Articles

"I am really happy with fifth place," Latvala said. "That was the goal we had set ourselves right from the word go. I have finally brought an end to my poor run at the Rally Monte Carlo.

"The conditions out on the route were very, very difficult in places - as was the tyre selection, which we did not get right at the start. The stages in the mountains were hard work, but it was worth it. We scored important points.

"I am particularly pleased with the extra points from the Power Stage [too]."

"We now head to the Rally Sweden full of confidence," added Latvala, who posted eight top-three times in total.

Volkswagen Motorsport director, Jost Capito meanwhile reckoned Latvala did a 'magnificent job'.

"Jari-Matti saw the finish line [here] for the first time in [something like] 10 years... he wanted a top five and he got that," Capito remarked. "He won the Power Stage as well, so he was better than the target - this gives a lot of confidence for Sweden."