Jari-Matti Latvala admits squandering WRC title hopes with Ford

Jari-Matti Latvala has admitted that he squandered chances to deliver a World Rally title for Ford during his five years as a works driver for the squad

Jari-Matti Latvala admits squandering WRC title hopes with Ford

The Finn replaced double world champion Marcus Gronholm at Ford in 2008 and won in Sweden in only his second start for the team.

But Latvala never managed to turn that speed into a championship challenge. Even when he scored his career-best runner-up spot in the standings in 2010, Latvala was 105 points behind runaway champion Sebastien Loeb.

Ford also failed to win any manufacturers' crowns during Latvala's sojourn.

Although Loeb has dominated the sport for most of the last decade, Latvala believes Ford could have denied Citroen some titles had he made fewer mistakes.

Latvala will move to Volkswagen next season, while Ford is withdrawing its factory backing from the M-Sport team and Loeb will switch to a part-time programme prior to a World Touring Car move.

"In a way I am disappointed in these years that I couldn't deliver the manufacturers' or drivers' championship," Latvala said.

"The car was very competitive, but we didn't have the consistency. I would push too hard and then go off the road. I should have learned, but it looks like I am a slow learner - I hope this will come..."

Click here for David Evans' analysis of how Ford's drivers squandered chances in 2012

Latvala confessed that he had still not managed to bring sufficient discipline into his driving.

"If I lose time, then I push harder and try to catch back the time and then I go off the road, instead of admitting and accepting the situation," he said.

"When I don't have the feeling to drive at the speed, I need to realise this."

He believes his hopes of being in the post-Loeb title fight in 2013 depend on how competitive VW's new WRC Polo is from the outset. Latvala will team up with Sebastien Ogier at the German squad.

"Personally I have wanted to beat Loeb, but it didn't work out," said Latvala.

"But with guys doing the full championship like Ogier and Mikko [Hirvonen], and probably Ford drivers, [the WRC] can be strong, so I hope to be there fighting for the championship.

"But I don't know about the car. We need to see how the car is and give some time for the car, but the team will be big and this will be a big challenge."

shares
comments
Emotional Sebastien Loeb pays tribute to Citroen after ninth title
Previous article

Emotional Sebastien Loeb pays tribute to Citroen after ninth title

Next article

Mikko Hirvonen feels ready to spearhead Citroen in 2013

Mikko Hirvonen feels ready to spearhead Citroen in 2013
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
4 h
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022