Monday | 07 Mar 2016

Tactical drive pays off for Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala believes his dominant drive to victory at Rally Guanajuato Mexico yesterday was the cleverest of his career.

The Finn's low start position on Friday and Saturday ensured he benefited from cleaner conditions than main rival and team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who opened the dusty gravel roads on both days.

Latvala took advantage to win all the dirt stages on both days and build a lead he managed through Sunday's final leg when the Volkswagen Polo R colleagues enjoyed more even conditions in the mountains above León.

"This was probably the cleverest drive of my career. Rally Finland last year was the drive of my life in terms of pure driving, but it was different because it was a high-speed event. This was about tactics, calculating, avoiding the rocks and not making mistakes," he said.

"It's an event where if you try to win too much time in one stage you risk damaging the car or breaking the suspension, like I've done in the past. Trust your road position is good and drive on that basis, step-by-step, stage-by-stage and it will pay off."

The 30-year-old Finn admitted another bad result in Mexico would have ended his championship hopes just three rounds into the campaign after failing to score in both Monte-Carlo and Sweden.

"The pressure was pretty high when I came here. I knew if I didn't score points the whole championship was gone, because if Ogier won again and I had zero points then there would be an 80-point gap.

"We have only caught six points but we are catching and that's important. I know when we go to Argentina for the next round my road position will remain good and we could again have an advantage," he added.

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