8 April 2014
Rally de Portugal: Latvala to focus on next events
'Avoidable little mistake' costs Jari-Matti Latvala on Rally de Portugal, but the Volkswagen man is determined to fight back in Argentina, the next round in WRC 2014.
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has said he remains confident about his performance and hopeful of challenging for victory when he goes to Argentina next month, despite a disappointing outing on Rally de Portugal.
Latvala was running second overall and was battling for the lead before he hit a deep hole and his Polo R WRC was pitched up into the air and into a roll in SS5 on Friday. That incident cost him any chance of a good result, and while he re-joined under Rally 2 - finishing 14th overall, claiming a few Manufacturers' points and two bonus points in the Power Stage, it wasn't much consolation.
Indeed with team-mate and championship rival Sebastien Ogier taking the maximum 28 point haul, Latvala now sees the gap to the Frenchman mushroom from 3 points to 29.
“The Rally Portugal has shown once again that it is deservedly seen as one of the most difficult rallies in the world. Our pace was very good, so we had the opportunity to finish on the podium. Unfortunately, however, an avoidable little mistake on Friday had pretty big consequences. That was very disappointing and put paid to any chances of a good result,” Latvala said after the fourth round in the 2014 World Rally Championship.
“We then altered our strategy and targeted the Power Stage. We kept some soft tyres back, in order to be mount an assault on the bonus points – and that paid off, as we finished runner-up.
"The gap to our team-mates at the top of the championship has grown, but there is still a long way to go this season,” he added.
“We can be confident about our performance going into the event in Argentina [too], and will hopefully challenge for victory again there,” he continued.
Volkswagen boss Jost Capito meanwhile hailed the team's mechanics for fixing Latvala's car and allowing him to re-start.
“Despite the crash on Friday, Jari-Matti managed to limit the damage, score valuable points for us in the Manufacturers' Championship, and pick up points for himself on the Power Stage,” Capito stated. "He can be grateful to the Volkswagen mechanics, without whose energetic efforts none of that would have been possible.”
“It [the off in SS5] was a slight mistake with a big effect. The mechanics did an outstanding job – this was the biggest job they have ever done. We had two forklift trucks pulling the car apart to get it right. We had to prepare it this way and that he could make a best stage time yesterday [in SS10] is fantastic and the job of the mechanics was amazing,” Capito continued.
“This team never gives up."
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