Q. Jarmo, you were scheduled to co-drive for Teemu Suninen at M-Sport Ford World Rally Team again this year. Why the change of direction?
A: It’s quite a big change, but in all honesty it was the brutal realism of life. We know that Teemu has only a partial programme for this year and I needed to make sure I had a steady income. I have to say, I am sad to be leaving Teemu. Really sad. We started in the middle of 2019 and we had a good plan from then. Coronavirus postponed much of that plan for last year and now with only some rallies for this year, it was difficult.
Q. It was a tough decision then?
A. Yes, it was. When Toyota made me this offer, I put it on the table and looked at it. I spoke with Teemu and we spoke with our manager and then understood that I had to make the move. For me, Teemu was a really good project for me and I was enjoying working with him.
Q. What can you tell us about your job as event leader?
A. I will be sharing the load a little bit with Kaj [Lindström]. It’s sure that he has a lot of work on for just one person and this is something we can split between us. I will be on event and working from the office [in Jyväskylä] between the rallies.
Q: Good to be back?
A: It is, yes. And funny that, when I left, Kaj was working for me as sporting director and now I’m back working for him as sporting director! I was here for two-and-a-half years before and we really achieved so much. Looking back now, it was the right decision for me to leave and do something else – my CV has so many different jobs on it now. In the last few years, I have worked with the FIA, WRC Promoter, event organisers and, of course, I’ve been back in a rally car again. I have seen the sport from lots of different directions.
Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo look ahead
Q: Will we see you back in a rally car again?
A: No, I don’t think so. Not at this [WRC] level. I am committed to Toyota Gazoo Racing now and that’s where my focus is.
Q: Good to be back on a team with Jari-Matti Latvala again? You boys worked together at M-Sport for a few years…
A: Yes, definitely. It’s really good to see Jari-Matti, Kaj and I in these positions in this team – this is something to be grateful to Tommi [Mäkinen] for. We all know what great drivers and co-drivers Finns make, but we don’t so often see Finnish people in these positions in the teams. That’s something I’m really proud of for us.