Podium boost for Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala’s podium finish in Finland last weekend ended a torrid run of five consecutive retirements that drained him of confidence.

The three-time Neste Rally Finland winner was third after a titanic final day duel with Mads Østberg went the way of the Norwegian, rejuvenating the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver who had not endured a clear run since February’s Rally Sweden.

“I’ve never had five rallies in a row where I retired, five rallies where I have not completed everything. It has been a tough section of the season. Mentally it has been very hard but I’m really happy now,” Latvala told wrc.com.

During the rally Latvala worked closely with mind coach Niilo Konttinen from KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports, who helped restore his confidence and focus.

“He is an institution and has done very good work. He helped me to get back on track mentally. When your self-confidence goes down you can’t come and win the next rally because first you have to build it up again and only then can you win,” he added.

Latvala battled initially with Teemu Suninen and Hayden Paddon and the Yaris World Rally Car pilot admitted a sharper start to the event could have been enough to secure a 1-2 for the Japanese manufacturer.

“I should have woken up for the rally earlier. It only happened on Saturday afternoon but at the end it’s more important I caught that feeling because then I started to find the speed back. That’s important for the future,” he explained.

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