Jari-Matti Latvala dreams about winning a round of the FIA World Rally Championship on asphalt and has targeted this week’s season-finale in Catalunya as the place to do it.
Although the opening day of Spain’s WRC qualifier takes place on gravel, days two and three run on sealed surfaces. Latvala, who is in a battle with Ford team-mate Petter Solberg and Fiesta privateer Mads Ostberg for third place in the final drivers’ standings, wants to make his mark as he prepares for his final event with the Blue Oval before he joins Volkswagen Motorsport for 2013.
After finishing second on Tarmac in France last month and claiming third overall in Spain last season, Latvala is feeling confident.
“It’s a dream of mine to win an asphalt rally and I’ve always thought that Spain could give me the best opportunity,” said the 27-year-old Finn. “But to be able to challenge I must be in a good position after the opening day on gravel. A strong first leg will give me a platform from which I can go out and do my best over the last two days on asphalt.”
Referring to the route on Saturday and Sunday, Latvala said: “The roads are smoother and wider than elsewhere in the series. They’re well used by the public so they’re maintained to a high level. A lot of repair work has been done to ensure there are far fewer places where we can cut corners, there are only a couple of stages where this is possible now. Cutting drags a lot of dirt onto the roads and so this means conditions are more even for all of us.”