30 May 08
Jari-Matti Latvala, who leads the Acropolis Rally after three stages, says a 20-second lead at the end of day one would counteract the disadvantage of running first through Saturday’s sandy stages.
The Finn said Saturday would be the more critical day for strategic driving but he would be happy to start it as rally leader.
“This afternoon I’ll just try to keep the speed on; I’m not going to slow down,” said Latvala. “If I was able to get a 20-second lead then it would be easier tomorrow, but that will be very, very difficult to do because the Citroen guys and Mikko will be pushing hard this afternoon.”
At the midday service Latvala revealed that following his stage win on SS1 he had backed off a little for the next two. “On the first one I was driving at 100 per cent, the second one 95 and the third one roughly 97,” he said. “Before I left service this morning Christian Loriaux, our technical engineer, said to me Jari, you always lead the rally after the first one and then you crash on the second. So today I decided I’d take it a bit cooler on the second. This afternoon won’t be an easy thing but I try my best. I can probably go a bit quicker.”
If he does start Saturday as first car on the road, Latvala said there could be some advantages to the position - especially if there is no breeze to blow away the clouds of dust that trail each car. “There isn’t really a lot of difference between first and second car, and it’s worth remembering that the first car on the road won’t have any dust problems. Okay, we haven’t had any dust problems today but tomorrow there is a bigger chance of it happening.”