Latvala, in a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, trails the Citroen DS3 WRC of Loeb by 29.7s starting day three of the FIA World Rally Championship counter. The Finn says he would need Loeb to hit trouble if he is to make it two wins in a row in the global series and his first on asphalt.
“The stages today are short so it will be difficult to attack,” said Latvala. “But I’m thinking more about preserving second than trying to win, which will be almost impossible unless Loeb makes a mistake. My car is fast enough to win the rally, but it’s the driver that has to improve.”
Latvala had been closer to Loeb until a mistake on the Pays d’Ormont stage on Saturday morning cost him 10 seconds after he dropped into a ditch. “It was disappointing to lose time but I knew that long stage was important,” said Latvala. “I knew if I put Loeb under pressure there, I might have a chance of catching him.
“The stage was dry and open at the start, but after six kilometres the road went into a forest and became damp. After a fast narrow section I braked, but the brakes locked and my speed was too much for the next slow right corner. I tried to turn in but went off the road into a bank. I restarted but there was a lot of mud in the front left wheel, and the vibration affected the braking for the rest of the stage.”