Alghero, Sardinia, June 13, 2019. 34 years old, 200 Rally Championship of the World, and counting, 18 wins from the first in Sweden in 2008, obtained with the three different Brands of Car with which he ran the World, Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota, something like more than 500 Special won. If not for the “density” (there are supernatural phenomena that are almost not explain, and which they know or have been able to do record routine), the career of Jari-Matti Latvala, Finnish Toysa, is without any doubt one of the most beautiful in the History of the WRC, greatly enhanced by the quality of the character and the Man. Fantastic. One of those nordic that is to say born on the shores of the Mediterranean, and then immediately and forever taken by the passion is more blood.
18 wins, one at least a year from the first, and three times vice-Champion of the World. The actuality of the Rally Italia Sardegna, says that today’s mid-June 2019, the career of Latvala missing with that victory, “usual” of each year, and a Title of the absolute. Probably it is late to think about becoming World Champion Riders this year, but it is certainly current and cabalisticaly imminent first win of the current season. That is an appointment carefully designed to break the ice just in correspondence with the showcase of the most beautiful in the World of WRC? We can’t swear, but…
Good Morning Jari-Matti. We were saying that, not having yet reached the end of the season which we have used for over ten years, maybe and more than likely to have arrived in that moment. Would you tell us, please, how have you planned this… victory?
Jari-Matti Latvala. “Let’s talk about how you should, you should, arrive at the appointment with the Rally to make it as profitable as possible. We need to get serene, relaxed, and with the utmost confidence in the Machine. Get there with the mind in great condition. Then it can happen…”
I understand that you should force, for good luck, but how did you prepare for this victory?
J-ML. “For me, as far as me, I’ll tell you only that the feeling resulting from the realization of those assumptions of which you said a moment ago, is very good. The work done up to here is perfect, we have reviewed the notes and we have a roadbook that I think is very good, and we don’t have the need to be particularly cautious and polite with the suspension as we had to be last year. We were supposed to be too delicate…”
Or maybe they had to be more robust suspension, in the last year?
J-ML. “… yes, but this was last year and, well, some thrill there was also this year, but of a different nature, I would say the materials as in Portugal. We believe that we have solved definitively, and now, page turn, I am convinced, fortunately, very well!”
Sardinia, Italy how?
J-ML. “Rally Sardinia Italy 2019 with less dangerous rocks, the ground more accurate, but at the same time, the race is more technical, compared to last year and, probably, than ever. New crossings, new sections and more narrow and led between the rocks that do not forgive. Everyone asks me if Sardinia is similar to Portugal. Let’s be clear. In Sardinia, the fund is more compact, hard, in Portugal is basically the most fluffy, “soft”. In Sardinia, the fund keeps and more to the steps, but they are a risk to the rocks at the side of the road, that can be brought inside and be a problem.”
Well, come to us. Just talk about dust, just stones, tires, now we are talking about, please, Rally and career. History, your. You are here for hundreds of years, hundreds of Rally, victories, success. At what point is your career today? What do you hear?
J-ML. “Today, for me, there are two points of my career that are quite clear. I have accumulated a great experience. I believe that the experience is sufficient, and not need new, additional. The more that I feel that I am missing is a special victory of the World Championship. Be -, become one I, the Champion of the World. Not only with the Brand, is a Title that I have already conquered, and that Toyota is cool, just a few months, I speak of a personal Title, of course. This is what I really miss and that I still want. But. Of course. Meet me closer. If the season, from the beginning, it begins not as I expect, is in danger of motivation. It happened last year and what happened this year. When you have dreamed of for so long, so much, and get another, it becomes a problem. Some error at the beginning of the season, then a Corsica really bad here is that I went down, and the stimuli of the street, far away. I have to say, I had to fight really to go fast in Argentina, and then Chile. Especially I had to understand and change my target. No more the driver’s World Championship, but the World makes for Toyota.”
J-ML. “You see, when you go wrong two Rallies in a row but you’re young, it’s not a problem: come back in the third, you want to win, what is your goal and you are regenerated. But now it is difficult to recharge their batteries, get motivation after two Rally bad. It is not at all the same thing, in short, you need more strength to do that.”
You now have an experience that “colosseum”, and then your place may be at the top, at the head of a structure, of a Team. There you never think, or do you still think that your goal is that the Title of Champion of the World?
J-ML. “In this regard, we reassure them. Be still, for the next two or three years, the good fortune to be able to fight for the Drivers ‘ Title. But after this, yes, there may be something else.”
Only at the level of thoughts or are you already planning something?
J-ML. “Let me tell you. I have already started to do, and something to think about for my next future. I have built my own Museum of the Rally, for example, a great workshop. Things in which I put energy and money, but I believe that they are not exactly what I want to do when I have stopped driving.”
You have crossed several eras of Rally, different regulations, what is even more striking in the present era, that of the Plus?
J-ML. “For me, it was inaugurated in 2017 is one of the biggest steps forward in the history of the Rally. Live television, of course, especially Machines very fast, the importance of aerodynamics. In truth, I have gone through, we have gone through, even the difficult moments, especially in the 2009, 2010, reductions of Houses, of powers. It was still nice, but not the maximum, the Rally suffered. The 2017 has represented une real “boost”. To find a season of this kind we must go back, even further back and find an outstanding year and as beautiful as the 2003. Many Teams, Factories, names great in that year, Solberg, such as Sainz, Makinen, Mitsubishi, Citroen, Ford. A special year, something like 20 World Rally Cars on each Trial of the World. Today we have the Brands, the other could get, in relation to suffer, perhaps, the number of Pilots, a dozen, compared to those days.”
Perhaps, however, it is a success even more incredible if you compare it with the market, with the commercial aspect of the reference is not to the time.
J-ML. “Of course, and I remember the big push forward impressed on other fronts, such as social media, television, among the people itself. Yes, a great success, but I still think that we should have a little more of the Machines lined up, probably a couple of other Brands that they have hired, and then we would really have a super era of the World Championship.”
You see more in a near future where you are part of, you know, a Team with a different role, for example that of the Team Manager, or maybe closer to an institutional role, of the federal type, promoter or organizer?
J-ML. “I don’t see myself in the part of the organizer or promoter, I like to decide and work for myself and about myself. Probably be at the head of a Team is something that could be equally exciting, something that has a similarity with the fight to the steering wheel. In that role, maybe I could see me.”
You do not have the impression that your current role in the Toyota Gazoo Racing is already something more, or more important than that of being behind the wheel of your Yaris WRC?
J-ML: “do you Believe this? Let me think about it…”
You would say, yes, that could be compared a bit to the mind, a mind of the Team…
J-ML. “Maybe it’s that I was here with Toyota since the beginning of the adventure, when you can say that everything was… nothing, and this, without a doubt, I bind, and makes me feel more connected to the Team. Watch Sébastien Loeb, a life with the Citroen. It’s hard to see now with the split of Hyundai. The truth simple is that I have always had a great admiration for the History of Toyota. You can say that I have been a fan and for me it was a moment truly special when they called me and I came in here! It is not only the Brand, is the legacy, the passion that Toyota has for Motorsport. In this sense I guess you could say that they are much more in the Team than I would be, for example, with Volkswagen and Ford.”
A topic more light on the track bar. Who has a greater chance today of win the Drivers ‘ Title?
J-ML. “At the moment, the fastest driver is Ott Tanak. This is clear. He is the fastest. But the Rider the most intelligent, the skillful, the more “clever” is still Ogier. Also Neuville has made a big step, but I believe that this year the battle will be between Ogier and Tanak. But what will be decisive for the awarding of the Title? The speed, or consistency? Ogier is able to calculate, knows how not to take unnecessary risks, here’s how last year and the year before it arrived at the last race, and won the World cup. Not the fastest but the most consistent. This will be the dilemma of the season, according to me. If Tanak know how to maintain the speed throughout the season, then… but if you commit even a single mistake, we can be certain that Ogier will use it immediately.”
Do you think the year that they raced together Tanak has been able to learn a lot from Ogier and Ogier?
J-ML. “Yes, I think so. It is the year in which the Tanak has made the biggest step forward of his career!”
Thank you, thank you.