Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Jari-Matti Latvala admits that he won’t be thinking about a championship challenge until the second half of the season.
Latvala in 2018 had a mixed season, with the second half of the year being much stronger with the Finn earning four podiums in six events and a win on the final round of the year, Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
Speaking at the 2019 Autosport International show, Latvala said: “Our target is to try and do our thing as well as we can in the first six months and not think about the championship and see where we are. After that you can think about a look at the championship but we don’t need to look at that straight away.”
“We had some issues in the early part of 2018 but we got them sorted. The car is now reliable and I think we have enough to compete for the drivers title. Since Finland last year we have had a very good rhythm going. In the championship what we really need is to be consistent like we were in the last six months. That consistency is how you win a championship!”
2019 sees Kris Meeke join the Finnish team and his new teammate Latvala was happy to see him return to the championship. He added: “Kris and Seb (Marshall) are really nice guys. We have a generally nice feeling with them coming to the team. Our team is based in Finland but we are a very international outfit and there’s engineers Kris knows here. I think he’ll fit in very well.”
The opening round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship is Rallye Monte Carlo which takes place next weekend.