Jari-Matti Latvala admitted he’s never had to work harder to score points than at Rally Guanajuato México last weekend.
Despite making a strong start to the third round of the WRC, the Finn then suffered a catalogue of problems which meant he and co-driver Miikka Anttila came close to leaving empty-handed.
However, the Toyota Gazoo Racing duo dug deep and managed to salvage four points from the event for finishing eighth.
“It’s been the hardest rally to get four points ever! I’ve never worked so hard for these points,” Latvala reflected at the finish.
The duo’s problems started late on Friday when they were forced to retire their Yaris WRC with an alternator issue. They rejoined on Saturday and two stage wins in the morning allowed them to move up to eighth place.
However, they lost more ground when they were handed a one-minute time penalty on Saturday night when Latvala was adjudged to have illegally worked on the car (trying to connect the rear anti-roll bar) in a light fitting zone.
The duo headed into Sunday’s stages hoping to push their way back up the leaderboard but their bid was hit by further drama when they damaged the sump guard and radiator on their car.
Despite attempting a temporary fix and completing an exhausting 500-metre dash down a steep hillside to a river to top up the radiator, they were unable to push in the Power Stage and improve on eighth place.
“At the end of the second stage of the day [Sunday], we hit some bedrock with the sump guard. We thought we had no chance to continue but I said we can’t give up at this point,” Latvala explained.
“The sump guard was only half-fixed so I couldn’t drive fast in the Power Stage. But at least we made it to the end. There have been a lot of things happening this weekend, hopefully the next rally will be a bit calmer!”