Monday | 03 Aug 2015

Latvala hatched Ouninpohja plan

Jari-Matti Latvala targeted the legendary Ouninpohja speed test as the place to attack team-mate Sébastien Ogier en route to his third Neste Oil Rally Finland victory last weekend.

Friday’s rollercoaster 34.39km stage, regarded as the sport’s biggest test of bravery and commitment, marked the turning point in the rally. Ogier led until Latvala literally flew through there 5.4sec faster than his rival to grab an advantage he would not lose.

Fittingly it was Latvala’s 400th career stage win and he set a new record for the test on his way to winning the fastest rally in WRC history in his Volkswagen Polo R.

“Before the event I was nervous about Ouninpohja. I knew Sébastien made the record in 2013 and I knew that if I didn’t do well it could be a crucial moment. I didn’t drive so well there in 2012 and 2013, so I tried to do a maximum performance,” he told

“There was a lot of pressure but it went really well, everything came together and I was able to take the lead. It’s a classic stage, the most demanding of the rally and I knew a good drive through there could make a difference.”

Having moved ahead, Latvala admitted there was a time on Saturday when he feared Ogier could relegate him again.

“On Saturday morning I was three seconds faster than him in the Mökkiperä stage, but then he was four seconds quicker than me in Jukojärvi and the lead was down to just two seconds.

“I realised that if I kept driving like that and he continued to drive at that speed he would catch me. I had to force myself to perform better and it worked,” explained Latvala.

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