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
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021