Latvala sets sights on Germany podium
Finn Jari-Matti Latvala says there is no reason why he can't claim a podium finish when the FIA World Rally Championship resumes on ADAC Rallye Deutschland this week.
The Ford World Rally Team star is competing on the Trier-based contest on the back of a frustrating defeat to Citroen rival Sebastien Loeb on his home round of the WRC earlier this month.
Despite Citroen’s upturn in form in Finland and Latvala admitting that “Germany is the most difficult asphalt rally of the year”, the 28-year-old believes he is firmly in the hunt for a strong result on the all-asphalt event at the wheel of his Fiesta RS WRC.
“I am confident our car will be good on Tarmac and a podium place is possible,” said Latvala. “We have done very good testing on Tarmac and although we have work to do now on gravel, I don’t believe the step Citroen took [in Finland] will necessarily be the same on Tarmac. In that sense I believe we have chances in Germany even though it’s Loeb’s rally because he has won there eight times now.”
Latvala and Ford team-mate Petter Solberg prepared for Rallye Deutschland with a two-day test in Germany recently having covered almost 1000 kilometres during an extensive test at the Circuit des Ecuyers in France last month where they worked on improving their driving technique on asphalt in mixed weather conditions.
“Using a circuit gave us a consistent location to learn more about the Fiesta RS WRC in asphalt set-up,” explained Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson. “Driving on the same stretch of track enabled us to understand accurately how small modifications to the set-up of the car affected its handling and performance.”