Speaking in Auckland on Wednesday evening following the three-day reconnaissance, which was affected by light rain, the factory Ford driver said: “The power is 90 per cent, the movement 100 per cent and the healing at about 80 per cent. Another two to three weeks everything will be 100 per cent so definitely I will be ready by the time we get to Rally Finland [in August].”
Latvala is a distant fifth in the WRC title chase following a largely frustrating campaign in the Fiesta he shares with co-driver Miikka Anttila. He says he’s hoping for a trouble-free event.
“We had a good fight in Greece then unfortunately I had a puncture but in the end I finished third,” he said. “For sure, I would be hoping to fight for the victory here but I need also a clear rally. So if the speed is not enough and things don’t feel right then I won’t push.”
Latvala says the route of this year’s event will provide a stern test for the stars of the FIA World Rally Championship and highlighted the opening day around the surfing town of Raglan south of Auckland as being particularly tough.
“The roads are in a very, very good condition but the first day in the south has quite a lot of loose gravel on the top,” said Latvala. “Then the second and third day are very good. They are a bit cleaner so the grip is better. Friday is a hard day - it is 100 kilometres stage kilometres, then there is a remote service and another 100 kilometres so it’s really 200 kilometres which is 50 per cent of the rally. But then on Sunday there are a couple of new stages and it’ll be very challenging. Girls School is very demanding stage, not “girly” at all!”