Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala is aiming to stay out of trouble on next week's Rally of Portugal as the Finn aims to end his difficult run on the Faro-based event.
The 25-year-old has crashed his Ford out of the rally for the last two years, with his 2009 accident reckoned to be one of the biggest in the sport, when he destroyed his Focus by rolling 17 times down a mountainside. This will be Latvala's fourth attempt at the Rally of Portugal, which starts on Thursday, and it is an event he admits he finds tough.
"It's the most difficult gravel rally of the season," said Latvala, who currently lies third in the championship standings after placing his Fiesta RS WRC on the podium in rounds one and two earlier this year. "The roads are narrow with many blind crests. Trees and stones line the stages, both on the inside of corners where a driver looks to make cuts, and on the outside where a car slides wide if a driver approaches too quickly. The roads have a clay surface which is hard in dry conditions and demanding on tires. However, if it rains they quickly become muddy and slippery."
Despite the tough nature of the event, Latvala is determined not to think about his previous visits to Rally of Portugal.
"Crashes are part of the sport and my accidents in Portugal are in the past. I prefer to focus on the future rather than what happened previously," he said.