Thursday | 05 Jun 2014

Latvala: relaxed approach is key

VW Motorsport’s Jari-Matti Latvala believes the key to beating Sebastien Ogier at Rally Italia Sardegna is staying relaxed and enjoying his driving.

The Finn beat his team-mate by 1m 26.9s at Rally Argentina last month – the first time he has won a head-to-head battle between the two in Volkswagen’s Polo R WRC. Latvala overhauled Ogier by winning seven more stages than his rival on the final two days of the rally.

He is now aiming to record his second successive rally victory when Rally Italia Sardegna gets underway tonight. “What I have realised myself is that when I get very relaxed and enjoy my driving, then I do the best performance,” Latvala said. “When I lose the feeling of being relaxed, I start to grab too hard on the steering wheel and that’s not a good sign for me.”

VW Motorsport team principal Jost Capito has publically stated that both drivers will not be subjected to any team orders. The atmosphere in the team has been described as “very open” in Sardinia, with VW’s drivers freely discussing set-up changes and tyre choices.

Sebastien Ogier insists he doesn't feel any extra pressure in Sardinia

Capito is insisting on a fair approach from all sides and has even told his drivers that once the first Polo R WRC leaves the service area to travel to a stage, the two remaining cars in service are not allowed to alter their tyre selection in a bid to gain an advantage.

Despite all of this, Latvala believes there is pressure for him and Ogier. “The feeling with my victory in Argentina has given me more confidence and the feeling at the start of the rally is good. It has increased the pressure for me but also for Seb,” he explained.

“He wants to win again, just like I do. The pressure is similar for both of us. We are both in the situation that we know we need the points for the championship.”

Ogier however, sees the situation differently. He’s happy with some inter-team competition and doesn’t look back at Rally Argentina with any regrets.

He said: “I can just speak about myself, I don't feel extra pressure here. Argentina was a good event for me. I prefer when I win, but at the end I scored 21 points there and that wasn’t bad for my championship.”

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