Ford: Latvala ready to fight for title
|By David Evans||Tuesday, November 16th 2010, 10:55 GMT|
Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson says Jari-Matti Latvala's strong 2010 season has turned him into a complete driver ready to fight for next year's World Rally Championship.
Latvala has spent this season in the number two role at the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team, but he has won twice - and Wilson says his success on Rally Finland in the summer was crucial to the Finn's development as a driver.
"Jari getting the runner-up spot in the championship is an exceptional result for the team and especially for him, considering the year we've had," said Wilson. "Yes, we've had a couple of disappointments, but he has really come of age this year.
"He has matured more than I expected. He's now in the role we wanted; he's able to drive with pace and consistency.
"It's the same old thing, like I always say: winning Finland has been the turning point in his career, like it has in lots of drivers down the years. He won there, he should have won in Japan, then he set four fastest times in France and then he could have won in Wales, it's all a huge positive.
"Jari has definitely shown the pace to be fighting at the top next season. And there's no doubt next year is going to be a very close and interesting battle."
Wilson added that, despite being beaten by Citroen in the manufacturers' championship, his team could take plenty from 2010.
"There's a lot of things we have learned this year," said Wilson. "And ultimately, they're only going to make us stronger as we react to them.
"I'm disappointed in one way, we should have won Rally GB and we had the capability to win with Jari. This is our season in a nutshell."