World Rally Championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala says he is heading to Mexico full of optimism following a confidence-boosting victory last time out in Sweden.

The Finn's triumph in the snow saw him leapfrog past Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier to assume a slender advantage at the top of the standings, a margin he is looking to maintain during the first gravel-based event of the season in Mexico.

Though Latvala is keeping his expectations modest, particularly as his place at the top of the leaderboard means he will start first on the road in Mexico, he is setting his sights on the podium at least.

"The win in Sweden was a special moment for me, and has obviously given me an extra dose of confidence. We used tests in Spain to prepare meticulously for the forthcoming gravel rally in Mexico and the difficult conditions we will encounter there. The scrapping of qualifying means I, as the championship leader, have to be first out onto the route in Mexico.

"It goes without saying that this is a handicap. However, rules are rules. This is definitely outweighed by the pleasure of travelling to Mexico as the leader in the World Championship. I will be sporting about it and do my best whatever the circumstances.

"If everything goes perfectly to plan, it could still even be possible to win. However, that is not my main goal. We want at least to finish in the points. A place on the podium would be great."

Having come close to his first WRC win in Sweden, Andreas Mikkelsen in the third Volkswagen Polo R WRC is keen to maintain a successful trend on his first visit to Mexico.

"Sweden was a perfect weekend. We were in contention to win the rally, and second place was ultimately a fantastic result for Mikko and me. Once you have made it onto the podium, you obviously want to do it again. However, you cannot lose your sense of reality.

"We are now looking forward to Mexico, which is completely new territory for us. It will not be easy for us, as I have never actually competed at this rally. I was able to take part in the 'Recce' last season, which allowed me to gain an initial impression.

"My goal is the top five. I am definitely physically and mentally fresh going into the rally weekend. After Sweden, I went home and spent some time with my family and friends. I also went to New York for a weekend to relax a little. I'm ready to go again now though."



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