The 27-year-old broke his collarbone in a cross-country skiing accident in April and was forced to miss Philips Rally Argentina as a result.
Despite his absence from competition - he hadn’t driven in anger since the final day of Vodafone Rally de Portugal on 1 April - the Finn was fastest on 10 of the 22 stages in Greece and could have claimed victory had it not been for an overshoot on Friday and a puncture and brake problems on the second day of the gruelling three-day contest. He eventually finished third.
“It was really great to be back on speed,” said the factory Ford driver. “The boys were doing 500 kilometres in Argentina and I missed those. Luckily we had the test, but of course we had doubts. It was great to see the speed was there.”
Latvala had been in a close fight with Sebastien Loeb when he suffered the deflation on Saturday after running wide and clouting a bank. He said he had no regrets about pushing the eight-time world champion so hard.
“We had a great fight,” he said. “Obviously, I could take the second place, but if we want - as a team - to get closer to Citroen and I want the drivers’ title, then I have to go for the win. You can’t play safe if you want to be world champion. I did a mistake. I ran a little wide and got the puncture and then brake problems. These things can happen.”