Latvala aims for runner-up spot at Wales Rally GB


Jari-Matti Latvala is hoping for a strong result at the 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB to help make up for a difficult season.

His World Rally Championship title chances may have gone, but Latvala is one of five drivers who could finish behind Sébastien Ogier in the Drivers Championship.

He is currently in sixth place, 23 points off second place, but there are 25 points are on offer for a win, with a further three points up for grabs for the fastest time on the closing Power Stage.

The drivers in front are the Hyundai trio of Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo, as well as Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, who currently occupies the spot behind Ogier.

Latvala is also tasked with securing VW’s fourth straight WRC Manufacturer’s title.

In order to clinch the crown, VW needs to leave Wales with a 43 point lead over nearest rivals Hyundai, who are currently 62 points off the top spot.

Achieving both objectives would make up for a disappointing season for the Finn.

“The season has been really difficult for me so far. As such, I hope I can finish strongly at the final two rounds of the season and make it into the top three in the Drivers’ Championship come the end of the year.”

Yet Latvala is feeling confident about his chances for a good result.

“Wales is one of my very favourite rallies. I drove my first rally there in 2002, so have greater experience in Wales than at any other rally – I am certain that I can challenge for victory there.”

Latvala has won the event twice in 2011 and 2012 while driving for M-Sport-Ford and his experience means that he knows how to master this difficult event.

“The surface can be very tricky in Wales. If it has rained heavily overnight, the tracks can be very greasy and slippery for the cars starting further down the order. That is typical for Wales.

“However, this year’s rally starts two weeks earlier than in recent years, so I hope it will not rain quite as much.”

The 2016 Wales Rally GB kicks off the penultimate round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship season on Thursday 27 October 2016.