Wales Rally GB: Q & A with Jari Matti LatvalaJari-Matti Latvala hadn't won in the FIA World Rally Championship since Rally Sweden in mid-February. But he's a winner again following a standout performance on Wales Rally GB where he led a Ford one-three.
It’s been 217 days since your last win. How long has it felt?
“That long? Wow...it’s felt like a really long time especially as we’ve been both so close, leading the rallies and winning stages. When it doesn’t start happening for you, you end up in a very frustrating situation and you start to lose the touch for the top a little bit. I wouldn’t have been able to do this result had it not been for the good times we did in Finland and Germany because they boosted my self-confidence. So if you ask how long it’s felt, honestly it’s felt like one year.”
And how long until the next one?
“I’ve always been hoping that it won’t be so long. Let’s put it this way: I don’t really want to be hoping for anything so much but instead working for it, so that I can help to make it happen.”
You were so fast here from start to finish: what made the difference?
"Well, this is my second home rally. I did this rally for the first time 10 years ago, when Petter won after a big fight on the last stage with Markko Martin: I remember it very well. You have a comfortable feeling coming here and then we had a couple of good results before this event and also a good test: we improved the rear suspension. So you just put all these little things together and that made a difference. For me Myherin was the turning point; when I did a good time there it boosted my self-confidence and that really helped too.”
Do you think that the drier and faster conditions in September suited you on this event?
“I’m not sure. Last year was difficult conditions and still it was going well for me. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the conditions made so much difference this year: there were still some slippery places. Overall, I would say that these conditions, when you have some slippery sections, suit me personally better than conditions when it is very dry and nice.”
Now we have some asphalt rallies coming up: do you think you can take your first win on asphalt? “That’s something I have been dreaming about. It would be very special for me to achieve. I think it was getting closer last year and it is definitely one of my targets. France would be difficult as it is Citroen’s home ground but I think we have a chance in Catalunya.”