World Rally Championship driver Jari-Matti Latvala had, according to Ford Motorsport, never raced on a closed circuit. However, that all changed last weekend when the Finn raced a Ford Focus RS in Germany.
On the Nurburgring.
The 25-year-old, who is currently second in the WRC points standings, entered the second round of the VLN Endurance series in preparation for taking part in the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring next month. He drove the front-wheel drive car, prepared by the Team FH Koln Motorsports made up of University of Cologne students in the race finishing third in class, sharing the car more experienced circuit racers Anja Wassertheurer and Daniela Schmid.
“Obviously my expectations were very high,” said Latvala of his first experiences of the legendary venue. “The Nordschleife has a fearsome reputation and having now driven all of these curves, I can understand the reasons behind that. It demands the utmost respect, but I found the experience to be thrilling.”
“I was extremely impressed with the car. I’m used to the four-wheel drive of my Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, but I was genuinely surprised by the good traction available from this front-wheel drive touring car.”
Latvala will be reunited with Team FH Koln as well as Wassertheurer and Schmid for the 24 Hour race on May 15-16 with Stefan Schlesack being added to the driving line-up for the race, which Ford Motorsport hope will make Latvala a better asphalt driver ahead of a summer of WRC containing a quartet tarmac events across Europe.