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Jari-Matti Latvala

Driver profile

Career Summary

Info

Nationality:  FIN
Date of Birth: 03.04.1985
Age: 33
Birthplace: Töysä
First Rally: 2002, Great Britain
Rally Wins: 17
Website: www.jmlatvala.com

Season 2018

Classification: WRC
Car No: 7
Car: Toyota Yaris WRC
Team: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
Co-driver: Miikka Anttila

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Here’s what makes him special:

• He has finished runner-up in the drivers’ championship three times

• The most experienced driver in the current WRC line-up. Only Carlos Sainz and Petter Solberg have started more rounds

• He’s polite and articulate, honest and open, especially when things aren’t going well

• A deep thinker, he has a tendency to over analyse his driving – and can be very hard on himself

The story so far

An early starter, Latvala began driving at the age of eight and competed on his first rally in Finland when he was 16. He made his WRC debut in 2002, aged 17, and in 2003 he drove a Ford Focus World Rally Car to 10th at the Acropolis Rally of Greece.

Three busy seasons followed in assorted two-wheel-drive, Group N and World Rally Cars until he hit the big time in 2007 with a 16-round programme at the Stobart Ford team.

Latvala was promoted to the factory Ford squad for 2008 and became the youngest driver to win a WRC rally when he took his maiden win in Sweden aged 22 years and 313 days. But as well as showing rally winning speed, Latvala’s season was plagued by driving errors.

There were more ups and downs in 2009. Ford stuck by its troubled driver, however, and Latvala secured a third term with the factory squad in 2010 when he shone by finishing runner-up in the standings.

More progress followed in 2011, and in 2012 he became Ford team leader, but it was a mixed season, and as Ford cut back its WRC involvement, Latvala left to become Sébastien Ogier’s team-mate at Volkswagen for 2013.

A lack of testing in the Polo R meant Latvala did a lot of learning on the early rounds, but he took victory at the Acropolis and finished the year strongly with second places in Spain and GB.

His learning season done, he began 2014 with enough seat-time to challenge Ogier, and a more focused mental approach courtesy of psychological trainer Christoph Treier. What followed was his most impressive season to date and the point at which his mental strength finally caught up with his skills behind the wheel.

A costly mistake in Germany effectively ended his bid for a maiden title, but he finished a strong runner-up.

Latvala had high hopes for 2015, but an early trio of no-scores in Sweden, Mexico and Argentina proved too much to make up. Still, with three wins and four second places, he underlined his position as Ogier's chief rival and a man at the very top of his game.

By his own admission, 2016 was disappointing. A solitary victory in Mexico was his only solace, and his form tailed off alarmingly at the end of the season as he dropped to sixth in the points.

Volkswagen’s WRC exit posed a major threat to Latvala’s future. However, Toyota Gazoo Racing opted to sign him and he duly repaid the team by scoring a memorable victory at Rally Sweden in only the squad’s second WRC event.

Finishing fourth in the drivers’ standings was a solid start to Latvala’s relationship with Toyota and he’ll be looking to harness even more speed from the Yaris WRC in 2018 to mount a serious title challenge.

Season Classification Starts 1. 2. 3. Car Points Standing
2017 WRC 13 1 2 0 Toyota Yaris WRC 136 4.
2016 WRC 13 1 2 0 Volkswagen Polo R WRC 112 6.
2015 WRC 13 3 4 0 Volkswagen Polo R WRC 183 2.
2014 WRC 13 4 3 1 Volkswagen Polo R WRC 218 2.
2013 WRC 13 1 2 4 Volkswagen Polo R WRC 162 3.
2012 WRC 11 2 3 1 Ford Fiesta RS WRC 154 3.
2011 WRC 13 1 3 4 Ford Fiesta RS WRC 172 4.
2010 WRC 13 2 1 3 Ford Focus RS WRC 171 2.
2009 WRC 12 1 0 3 Ford Focus RS WRC 41 4.
2008 WRC 15 1 3 2 Ford Focus RS WRC 58 4.
2007 WRC 16 0 0 1 Ford Focus RS WRC 30 8.
2006 WRC 11 0 0 0 Subaru Impreza 9 13.
2006 P-WRC 4 0 0 0 Subaru Impreza 27 4.
2004 JWRC 1 0 0 0 Ford Fiesta S1600 5 13.

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