Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala says he is “a little bit disappointed” with his second place finish on Rally Finland and feels he lacked the same “fighting spirit” he had in previous years.
Latvala had been gunning for this third consecutive home win, but finished the event 29.1secs off rally winner Kris Meeke, losing time on Friday with “a slip in SS4” - when he picked up a puncture costing him 15secs -, before Sebastien Ogier's trip into a ditch in SS10 changed the complexion of the event.
“Overall of course I'm a little bit disappointed. I've won this rally the last two years but I couldn't do it this year. Somehow I didn't have the same fighting spirit that I have had in the last two years. In the beginning on Friday I had it but then I made a mistake quite early on and I lost 15 seconds. I tried and tried but then I think things changed on Friday evening when Sebastien Ogier went off. It put me in a bit of a different position,” Latvala explained.
“After that it was difficult to find that last bit for the driving, I was maybe a bit too much on the safe side.
“Kris and Paul [Nagle] though, they did a superb drive, they really, really deserve it,” he added.
Quizzed further on what changed after Ogier lost 15 minutes in Surkee 2 on Friday, Latvala added the importance of him taking second increased, and not only in terms of taking Manufacturers' points for VW, but also as he had the chance to make up ground in the Drivers' Championship.
Indeed following his P2 finish in Finland he now moves up from fourth to third, 11 points off Andreas Mikkelsen and 56 off Ogier. The gap to Ogier had been 75 points prior to Rally Finland.
“Yes [things did change after Ogier's off], because the situation is that Citroen is not committed [registered for Manufacturers' point] in the World Rally Championship [this year] and in that situation, when I climbed up to second position I was actually getting the first manufacturer points and the team really needs these points.
“Also, in the drivers' championship I was calculating that now we can also catch Ogier so I can't afford to do a mistake.
“Having this in my head was maybe making me a little bit too much on the safe side on Saturday and then also on Sunday.
“On Saturday morning after the first time on Ouninpohja [when Meeke was 13secs quicker] we realised there was no chance anymore to catch Kris.”
Despite not winning, however, Latvala was pleased with the points he scored: “Second place and a point on the Power Stage is a very good haul. I also climbed a place in the overall standings. All in all, we could not have done any more against Kris this weekend.
“I would also like to say another big thank you to all the many fans who supported me. It is always very special to drive here on home soil.
"We now move on to the asphalt season, which was remarkably good to me last year. We must now back up this weekend's performance in Germany [next month].”