WRC.com talks to Jari-Matti Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala set the fastest time on the Vodafone Rally de Portugal Qualifying Stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to earn the right to pick his starting position for Thursday’s stages first. He told www.wrc.com why he decided to go 17th on the road.

Q: Why did you decide to start 17th on the road on day one?
JML: “We are counting more on the cleaning effect that it will be cleaner with more grip. The organisers have promised there is no dust on the [night] stages so we are also counting on that and the information in our team that we are confident the cleaning effect is bigger than the dust problem.”

Q: What about other hazards, such as rocks being pulled onto the road?
JML: “There will be always in the current situation where you have to drive further back in the order so you can’t really think about it. You have the rocks normally in the event so I don’t see it as being a problem.”

Q: And if there is dust how bad will it be?
JML: “For sure it will be hard. For sure if there is dust then for me it’s a big problem so I really hope it will be okay.”

Q: How difficult was it to decide your starting position?
JML: “It was not easy. We have been discussing it a lot with the team. We have done a lot of searching for that, we spent a lot of time.”

Q: Were you surprised Citroen’s drivers decided to go first and second on the road?
JML: “Yes I was surprised at Citroen, I was thinking maybe one car, maybe Mikko [Hirvonen] but I couldn’t expect they could be first and second. It’s very exciting at the moment that we have chosen a completely different approach.”

Q: How much of a risk is this given the fact you are not very high up in the championship right now?
JML: “It is the most risky but on the other hand you can’t always play the safe card. It can give you consistency but sometimes you have to play the risk card as well. I know with the driving if you think about the championship you like to be safe and so on but on the other hand if we all the time try to play safe it’s difficult to catch Citroen.”

Q: Did you not consider Petter starting higher up the order rather than just in front of you in 16th?
JML: “That would have been one option but basically we didn’t expect Citroen to do that. We count on the information we have that the dust should not be a too big issue.”
– Credit: www.wrc.com.