Wednesday | 29 Jul 2015

Latvala's sights set on a home hat-trick

Jari-Matti Latvala will push to get his disappointing FIA World Rally Championship season back on track this week, when he guns for a third victory on the super-fast gravel stages of his home event, Neste Oil Rally Finland (30 July - 2 August).

Having triumphed in 2010, the 30-year-old claimed a second Finland victory last year, overcoming a brake problem to beat his world champion team-mate Sébastien Ogier and claim the first home win at the country’s WRC counter for four years.

Another win this week would draw him level with his famous compatriot Juha Kankkunen as a three-time Finland winner, and give him a much-needed lift after a season which has so far featured just one win and three no scores.

"Last year was the best WRC performance I have ever done and now I feel very motivated and hungry to get a good result again," Latvala told

"I had big hopes for this season, instead it has been difficult, up and down, so a good result in Finland would be a boost. I've been preparing very hard, both in the car and mentally, and now everything is in place. I want to get my year back on track and this would be the perfect place to do it.

"It would also be something unique to get on the same level as Juha. He was my idol when I was a young boy - so to match his number of wins would be very special."

Kankkunen is a three-time winner of Finland's WRC counter

Latvala believes a breakthrough with the set-up of his Polo R World Rally Car could help him turn around poor results on the recent rounds in Sardinia and Poland.

"After Portugal I did some mistakes with the set-up of the car and in Poland I knew something was wrong,” he said. “I struggled there with the turn-in and the braking. Last week I tested for 550km in dry and wet conditions, running from 8am until 7pm, because I wanted to know why.

"We found out a few things with the braking and also with the turn-in. We were too soft with the car and since that was corrected it feels completely different."

Twenty tree-lined stages littered with jumps and crests make up the challenge of this year’s rally, which is based from the city of Jyväskylä in central Finland, 270 kilometres north from the capital Helsinki.

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Video: Get set for Finland...