Q & A with Jari-Matti Latvala
|By David Evans||Thursday, February 9th 2012, 12:52 GMT|
Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala talked to AUTOSPORT about winning the World Rally Championship's first ever qualifying stage in Sweden this morning.
Q. Congratulations. That's history...
Jari-Matti Latvala: Yes, thank you. It's quite nice to have this. But the most important thing is what this can mean for the event.
Q. How was the stage itself?
JML: It was okay. I had no problems in there. There were some rocks on the inside of one corner, so I slowed a little bit and took a slightly wider line, but otherwise it was the perfect run.
Q. You'll be the first chose your place on the road tonight, so you'll show your hand immediately. Could this be a disadvantage?
JML: That's an argument I can understand. This rally is quite difficult to call, there are so many different variables which we have to think about before we decide what we're going to do.
Q. Sebastien Loeb's sixth quickest, maybe he's actually in a better position on this rally - he'll know exactly who's doing what when he comes to pick his place?
JML: Sometimes when you want to win a rally you have to go and do your own thing, you can't always follow Citroen and Loeb. I still think we're in the right position and the best position to win this rally.
Q. What makes the choice of position on the road so difficult on this event?
JML: The weather can change things so much. It depends on the conditions, how the roads have been ploughed and that kind of thing. The big thing, though is the surface. If the weather stayed like it is today and really froze hard down to minus 20 or something like that, then we would have a good base layer of ice for the tyres to work on. If you know for sure it stays hard and very, very cold, then there's no doubt the place to be is first on the road.
But, if it snows, like we saw with Loeb last year [when he lost time] you definitely don't want to be first, you want to be further back letting the boys ahead clear the snow for you. But then, how much is it snowing? When is that best line coming? This kind of detail is always changing and it's so difficult to pick the optimum place. But winning is a risky business and you have to be prepared to take risks.
Q. You've got some work to do this afternoon, then?
JML: Yes, we have a lot to think about. We have to make sure we get a good weather report, this is really important for us. The decision tonight will obviously have a very big effect on our rally.
Q. So, come on then, tell us, where will you start?
JML: Somewhere in the middle. Maybe.