Monday | 06 Jun 2016

Latvala's new tyre resolution

Jari-Matti Latvala hopes a new tyre-friendly approach for the rough gravel stages of Rally Italia Sardegna will be rewarded with a podium finish at this week's event (9 - 12 June).

Latvala won the rally in 2009 at the wheel of a Ford Focus RS WRC but his recent attempts have been blighted by a series of costly tyre deflations that the Finn believes he could have avoided.

Most recently, last year Latvala was locked in a battle for the lead with Hayden Paddon until he bounced his Volkswagen Polo R off a chicane and into a bank, knocking a rear tyre off the rim.

This year, as his team-mate Sébastien Ogier bids for a fourth successive Sardinian win, Latvala has vowed to adopt a new strategy.

“The Rally Italy is fantastic. It’s where I celebrated my first win on gravel. I look forward to returning to Sardinia every year, even though things haven’t gone so well for me there in recent years.

"I have often picked up a puncture on Sardinia in recent times – perhaps because I pushed too close to the limit. This year I have made a resolution to look after my tyres better. My aim is to finish on the podium again," he said.

Latvala also hopes to make use of a road position that should give him a cleaner line compared to his team-mates Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen who will be first and second through Friday and Saturday's stages.

"The gravel on Sardinia is usually very slippery on the first pass, my high starting number could be an advantage. Then all of the drivers usually have good grip on the second loop," he explained.