Monday | 16 Jun 2014

Latvala: Poland stages suit me

Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala is hoping his recent rallying experiences in Estonia could help him return to winning ways at next week’s Lotos 71st Rally Poland.

The Finn undertook his pre-event test for the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship last week when he tackled a gravel test stage in Poland’s Masurian region.

Poland has not featured on the WRC calendar since 2009, so the pre-event test has given Latvala and his VW team-mates, Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen, an invaluable opportunity to familiarise themselves with the characteristics of Poland’s gravel stages.

That should ensure they are fully prepared when they go into battle on 26 June.

Latvala felt comfortable at Poland test (Photos courtesy of RallyTravel.PL)

Latvala is also planning to draw on the experience he gained when he recently drove a Ford Escort MK2 and an Audi Quattro in the historic section of Rally Estonia.

“For me, the Poland roads are close to Finland, but let's say they’re even closer to Estonian roads,” Latvala told RallyTravel.PL. “I’ve been running on those recently in historic rallies and I feel very comfortable in those fast flowing roads. It’s nice to drive the fast roads and normally they should suit me.”

Latvala is desperate to get back to winning ways after losing out to main championship rival, Ogier, at the recent Rally Italia Sardegna. Latvala trails his team-mate by 33 points in the race for the 2014 WRC crown and Poland marks the mid-way point of the current season.

Latvala and his VW team-mates all enjoyed a day behind the wheel of a Polo R WRC at their pre-Poland test. Ogier drove the car last Wednesday, Latvala on Thursday, while Andreas Mikkelsen – who finished fourth in Sardinia and took maximum bonus points on the Power Stage – drove on Friday.

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