Jari-Matti Latvala is braced for a new challenge on next month’s Rally Mexico – starting first on the road for the first time in his career.
The VW Motorsport driver’s recent win at Rally Sweden catapulted him into the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship standings for the first time in his 12-year career.
But while the Finn is pleased to have made a positive start to the 2014 season, his happiness is tempered by the reality that he’s in for a rough ride in Mexico.
As the championship leader, Latvala’s VW Polo R WRC will be the first car to run over Rally Mexico’s gravel stages on 6-9 March. He’s admitted it’s not an appealing prospect on an event where loose gravel is traditionally a time-sapping problem for the lead car.
Latvala updated his fans after his successful pre-Rally Mexico test earlier today. Writing on his ‘Official Fanclub’ page on Facebook, Latvala said: “Back home after the pre-event test for Rally Mexico, 214km of gravel testing completed. Good to get back on to a proper gravel stage again. We did the usual car preparations with the suspension and the car felt great again, really looking forward to Mexico! It won’t be ideal being first on the road – but that’s the price you pay!”
Latvala and team-mate Sebastien Ogier – the man who is second in the WRC drivers’ standings – completed their pre-Mexico test in Southern Spain. They used gravel roads that were located 200km east of Malaga.