Jari-Matti Latvala will race the same Focus chassis that he drove off a cliff and rolled several times into a tree – despite it looking fit for scrap afterwards – at this year’s WRC season opener in Sweden.
Despite the massive impacts the car suffered – most of the cockpit area remained intact, thanks to the super-strong rollcage protecting both Latvala and co-driver Miikka Antilla. Amazingly they walked away from the monster crash (below) with just a few cuts and bruises.
“The accident looked horrific but structurally, the shell stood up to the pounding remarkably well,” said team principal Malcolm Wilson. “It underwent rigorous checks to ensure there were no weaknesses and the decision was taken to rebuild the car for future use. Crew safety is our prime concern in the build of any rally car and our increased efforts in this area are reflected in the fact that Jari-Matti’s car lives on.”
Despite his huge accident last season, Latvala has no conerns that the car won’t be up to scratch.
“When I saw the car being rebuilt, I could see some places where the welding was new. That made me think back to the crash, but I really have no problems about climbing into the car again. The team has done an amazing job to rebuild it and I can’t wait to be back out competing again in Sweden.”