Fearless Latvala clinches Finland win
Latvala holds on for emotional home success
The Neste Oil Rally Finland winner used the latest round of the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship as a debut event for his 1982-specification machine that has been built to Gp 4 regulations.
He wasted no time getting into his groove and recorded the fastest time on each of the 12 stages to win the two-day event by more than five minutes. It was his fourth success on the Lahti stages.
“The stages on the second day were exactly the same as the ones that were used on Rally Finland is 2011 so I was quite familiar with those,” Latvala told WRC.com. “I’m happy that everything worked well with the car on its very first event. We had a small problem with the turbo waste gate on the opening day but that only lost us a couple of seconds.”
Latvala is a big fan of the historic rally cars that used to grace the World Rally Championship when he was growing up and he admitted that taking the wheel of his very own Audi Quattro marked the realisation of a dream.
“I love the sound you hear inside the car when the turbo is working and I have to say that driving my own Quattro was a dream come true,” he said. “It took the whole of the first stage to figure out how to drive the car on slippery gravel after being in my Polo WRC but it was still great fun.”
Latvala’s compatriot, Mikko Hirvonen, was also present at the Lahti Historic Rally. He was driving his own Ford Escort Mk2 as the ‘0’ car. However, his weekend came to an early end when he was forced to stop at the end of SS3 when his Rothmans-liveried machine developed an engine problem.
Photo credits: Markus Mäki (main Quattro picture) and Petri Görman (Hirvonen picture)