WRC: Latvala admits he was too cautious in Finland

2016-08-01 16:02:23

Volkswagen World Rally Championship driver Jari-Matti Latvala admitted he was too cautious and lacked fighting spirit after Kris Meeke denied him a third straight Rally Finland victory.

Latvala had won his home WRC round in 2010 as well as '14-15, but had to settle for second this time as Meeke became the first Briton to triumph in the Finnish event. Although a mistake on Friday morning left Latvala with tyre damage that dropped him to fifth, he said the bigger blow to his victory quest was when VW's hopes all landed on him after Sebastien Ogier crashed.

"Somehow I didn't have the same fighting spirit that I have had in the last two years," Latvala said. "In the beginning on Friday I had it but then I made a mistake quite early on and I lost 15 seconds.

"I tried and tried but then I think things changed on Friday evening when Sebastien Ogier went off. It put me in a bit of a different position.

"After that it was difficult to find that last bit for the driving, I was maybe a bit too much on the safe side."

In addition to being more concerned about making a mistake because he had a chance to regain some ground on Ogier in the drivers' championship, Latvala also felt pressure to think of VW's manufacturers' championship score given Meeke's PH Sport Citroen team is part-time.

"Because the situation is that Citroen is not committed to the World Rally Championship, when I climbed up to second position I was actually getting the first manufacturer points and the team really needs these points," he said. "Also, in the drivers' championship I was calculating that now we can also catch Ogier so I can't afford to do a mistake.

"Having this in my head was maybe making me a little bit too much on the safe side on Saturday and then also on Sunday."

Latvala's second place brought him up to third in the championship, but he is still 56 points off leader Ogier. VW heads Hyundai by 52 points in the teams' race.

Meeke cemented his lead when he took 13s out of Latvala on the famous Ouninpohja stage on Saturday morning.

"On Saturday morning after the first time on Ouninpohja we realized there was no chance anymore to catch Kris," Latvala said. "Kris and [co-driver] Paul [Nagle] did a superb drive, they really, really deserve it."


Originally on Autosport.com

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