Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala says he has learned from last year's RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada and knows now what he needs to do on the opening day.
The event in Spain is the only one in the World Rally Championship that features mixed surfaces, with Friday's action incorporating tests on gravel and on gravel and asphalt, before Saturday and Sunday's all-tarmac affairs.
Latvala lost out twelve months ago on the first leg, finishing it 36.6s behind team-mate, Sebastien Ogier, and while he then stormed back on Saturday and Sunday, winning eight of the ten stages in his Polo R WRC, he ultimately had to settle for the runners-up spot, 11.3s adrift.
“Rally Spain is one of my favourite rallies. Last year Sebastien and I had a very close battle. I pushed hard right to the finish, and won the closing Power Stage. Unfortunately I missed out on victory by just over eleven seconds,” Latvala recounted.
“I was not 100 per cent in gravel mode at the start of the rally. I had focussed more on the asphalt set-up, so won all of my special stages on days two and three of the rally. However, you must also be set up for gravel on the opening day in Spain if you want to be right up there.
“I have learned from that: I now know how I need to set up the Polo and that I have to drive cleanly on these sections.”
Meanwhile, Latvala added that his victory earlier this month in France – his third of the season – has given him a boost and he is determined to try and finish the year on a high: “Victory on Corsica has definitely given me plenty of confidence. There are just two rallies remaining this year – and I want to be in contention to win them both,” he vowed.