Fearless Latvala clinches Finland win
Latvala holds on for emotional home success
Co-driver Miikka Anttila revealed that in the immediate aftermath of hitting a huge hole that destroyed the caliper, Treier spoke with Latvala in an effort to reassure him he could still take Finland’s first home win on its WRC encounter for four years.
“It was a bit of an exciting time at the end of the stage,” said Anttila. “We called the team in service and also, luckily, Jari-Matti spoke to Christoph Treier, his mental trainer. Christoph was able to calm him down and told him what to think. That helped a lot.”
Treier, who used to work with double world champion Marcus Grönholm, linked up with the Volkswagen driver this season. Latvala credits him with helping to main focus during stressful situations on rallies.
As team-mate Sébastien Ogier whittled down Latvala’s lead from 31sec to 3.4sec on Saturday, Treier’s influence was clear in the Polo R pilot’s resilient comments.
“I had to hold on. I’ve worked so hard and I didn’t come here to lose this rally,” he said.
Anttila admitted confidence had been high coming into the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship after a successful pre-event test.
“When we finished the test I said: ‘It’ll be interesting to see who will be second in the rally!’ That was the confidence I saw when we did 600km of testing. Even in the test we didn’t make any changes, everything was correct. It was easy to do 600km then come here and collect the result of all of that good work,” he said.
Latvala believes his third victory of the season has kept alive hopes of a maiden world title. He is 44 points behind Ogier with five rounds remaining.
“Only a victory could help me. If I had not won the rally here then I would be finishing second in the championship, but now I can fight to keep it alive – it was all or nothing,” he said.
“It’s been such big pressure on me. From the test we had a fantastic feeling and in the rally, it got better and better until we hit the problem. I was so frustrated, I thought I would lose all what we had created.
“I managed to hold myself together and fight the problems. I was still in the lead and I could keep my head cool and drive with control. I never worked so hard for one victory as I have done here."