Tuesday | 16 Dec 2014

2014 highlights: Latvala's GB escape

We continue to countdown our 2014 WRC highlights with No 6, which recalls Jari-Matti Latvala performing one of the saves of the season at Wales Rally GB last month.

With the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles already decided, the WRC’s stars were free to throw caution to the wind at the final round through Wales’ muddy forests.

The rally is one of Latvala’s favourites. He won in 2011 and 2012 and was eager to end the year by defeating team-mate and newly-crowned champion Sébastien Ogier.

However, he dropped 4.6sec to the Frenchman in Friday’s opening Gartheiniog stage and was determined not to lose more in the 21.90km Dyfi test across the road.

But it almost went badly wrong after a lurid incident in a tightening right bend when the Finn’s Volkswagen Polo R slid wide. As Latvala fought to keep control, the rear of the car hit a bank and was thrown into the air.

Fortunately he landed back on the road and went on to post second fastest time.

“We had a big moment. I hit a hole and was very lucky not to roll. I need to find the rhythm because I’m not driving well,” said a relieved Latvala at the stage finish.

His victory hopes ended the following morning when he slid backwards into a ditch and dropped three minutes, eventually finishing eighth.

The incident was captured by a spectator on the video below.

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