Latvala, who won his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship back in 2010, is one of the favourites to win the event from 1-4 August in his factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC. He will need to be at his bravest - and his pace notes as accurate as possible - if he’s to triumph again this season.
“When you approach a big jump at 180kph it’s essential to kill the speed before take-off,” Latvala explains. “If the speed is too high, the aerodynamics will force the back of the car down and the front, which is lighter, will rise. The tactic is to brake, perhaps drop a gear, and accelerate full throttle over the jump. Braking over the jump itself means the suspension isn’t free and the landing could be bad.”
Jumps will be a key factor on the legendary Ouninpohja, which returns to the Rally Finland itinerary over its full 33.01 kilometres this season. Latvala’s Ford team-mate Petter Solberg says it will prove crucial to the outcome of the event.
“The rally will be decided over those roads,” Solberg insists. “It’s incredibly demanding and difficult. It’s not so technical in the traditional sense, especially on the wide roads. But the speed is so high that if your line isn’t correct over the jumps, it’s easy to make a mistake which can end your rally.”