27 May 09
After winning Rally d'Italia - Sardegna, Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala's up and down 2009 season is firmly back at an 'up' point.
The Finn, 24, took his second World Rally Championship victory in Sardinia just seven weeks after an enormous accident in Portugal threatened to end his career altogether.
Even though he emerged physically unscathed from rolling his car down a Portuguese mountain side, back in April Latvala's professional prospects looked decidedly bleak. And having already crashed out of the lead on Rally Ireland, and driven off the road in Cyprus, his confidence was in freefall.
But having pulling himself together with a steady run on Rally Argentina, Latvala returned to his brilliant best in Italy. His win repaid the faith shown in him by BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team principal Malcolm Wilson, and proved that the mighty Sebastien Loeb and Citroen combination could be beaten.
After the rally, Latvala talked exclusively to wrc.com about how it felt to be back at the top, and how he planned to stay there.
Congratulations Jari-Matti. How does win number two compare to your first in Sweden last year?
"In a way the first one in Sweden felt better because it was my first victory and that's always a special moment. Of course this one felt really good but it wasn't quite the same. This time I knew what it felt like to win - but still it felt brilliant. This one was like a fighting victory."
What was the turning point in the rally for you?
"Definitely Sunday morning when Mikko lost 18 seconds on the first stage and gave us such a big gap. At that point I thought, now this could be enough..."
What did you think when you saw Mikko's time?
"I was quite surprised. The first time I saw the splits in the stage I thought Mikko was having a puncture. Then, when I saw he wasn't losing so much I thought, okay, it must the dust. But I kept on going at the normal speed until the end.W
How much of your win was down to luck?
"We were definitely a bit lucky on Sunday. We have had so much bad luck this year I kind of feel that finally I got some good luck."