Jari-Matti Latvala has described his second place at the Rallye Monte Carlo on his Toyota debut as unbelievable but had sympathy for M-Sport's Ott Tanak over the closing stages.
The Finnish driver had ruled out the possibility of podiums for Toyota until midway through 2017
during the build up to the WRC season opener but leaves Rallye Monte Carlo with the second place trophy during a heavy attrition event.
After the opening stages Latvala was trailing in the bottom half of the top ten but as his rivals fell by the wayside the Toyota driver held his nerve to climb the running order up the final rostrum place at the end of day three.
While not putting a wheel wrong throughout the rally, Latvala's final profit came from Tanak's engine issue which saw the pair switch places over the final stages – allowing the Finn to equal his best-ever result at the Monte and exceed his own expectations.
“I am so happy with the result, although I am sorry for Ott Tanak, who was second before he had a problem,” Latvala said. “If you had told me before the start of the rally that this is where we would finish, I would never have believed it. In fact, this equals my best-ever result on this rally.
“The last stages were very difficult, like the whole rally was in fact, and my main priority was to look after the tyres. On the final stage there was some snow so it was hard to find the grip. It's been an amazing rally, and it's been fantastic to feel all the support of the fans in particular.”