23 Apr 08
BP-Ford Abu Dhabi team driver Jari-Matti Latvala says he’s unconcerned about tackling the forthcoming Jordan Rally for the first time.
The event represents a step into the unknown for Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila, neither of whom has visited Jordan before.
But the 23-year old Finn says that because none of the other WRC drivers have driven the 2008 route either, everybody will have to start with fresh pace notes.
“I think it's good because everyone is in the same position and knowledge of the roads isn't an issue," said Latvala. "We have to be careful when making pace notes during the recce so we're confident with them for the rally. The recce vehicle is fitted with an in-car camera to film the stages so I can watch them before the start. It helps me to remember the stages because it's like a third recce pass over the roads, but it does look different on video than in reality.”
Latvala has had some mixed results on the rallies so far this year. After a shaky 12th place on the season opener in Monte Carlo, he won his first ever WRC event on the next round in Sweden. In Mexico he was on course for a second win until a broken turbo pipe meant he had to settle for third, while on the most recent round in Argentina he rolled on the second stage, lost nine minutes and eventually finished 15th.
Undaunted by the challenge of another brand new event, Latvala points to his top ten performances in Norway, Portugal and Ireland in 2007: “Last year there were three new rallies in the championship and I enjoyed the challenge of those so I'm looking forward to Jordan. I understand the roads are hard and fast so they should suit me. Although it's my first time in Jordan, car set-up isn't a concern. Now I have a set-up that feels good, I use that as a base for most rallies and don't need to make big changes, just a little fine tuning in places," he added.