Monday | 27 Feb 2017

Latvala reveals Ogier pressure

Jari-Matti Latvala has talked of the pressure he felt at Volkswagen last year and how his failure to match the achievements of team-mate Sébastien Ogier prompted a drastic change of approach that ultimately backfired.

Now driving for Toyota, a resurgent Latvala leads the drivers standings after victory at the last round in Sweden.

But in an interview with Becs Williams for the new episode of the Regroup podcast, the Finn reveals that just a few months ago he had lost his motivation and confidence after another season in Ogier's shadow.

Having finished the championship behind Ogier in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Latvala began 2016 determined to claim the title for himself.
"I thought now is the year to try and win it," he told WRC Live presenter Williams. "But I had two bad races in the beginning, then with the win in Mexico I started to get in a good direction, and then there were a couple of retirements again. In a team with such a great driver like Sébastien by Spring I already realised that it was gone - I coudn't win the championship any more. I knew how strong he was.

"I had finished second and third [to him] in the championship. Then it hit me and I started to lose the motivation. That was it. I couldn't see anything more than single wins and that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted a championship, it was three years that Seb had won it. I should not have let it happen but it did."

Latvala tried a radical approach with the set-up of his Polo R in an effort to emulate his rival's success.
"Being in the same car, I thought I will do the exactly the same set-up as Seb. If we drive the same car, it will be only about the driving," he explained.

"But every driver has little differences to their style and set-up. So in trying to drive like Sébastien, trying to brake the same way, I went away from my own identity and my own style. After four months I had dropped even more. I just couldn't do it the same way.

"The only way for me is to drive the way I have learned and am confident with - not to try to copy what anybody else is doing. Even the world champion."

Latvala talks more about his time at Volkswagen in the Regroup podcast, as well as his fresh start at Toyota and his hopes for the upcoming round in Mexico.

You'll find Regroup in the podcast section of and on iTunes


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Latvala's 2016 season at VW