Jari-Matti Latvala flat-out for rally wins now WRC title is settled

Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala has declared he will go absolutely flat-out for victory in next week's Rally d'Italia, as with the World Rally Championship titles settled, anything less is pointless

Jari-Matti Latvala flat-out for rally wins now WRC title is settled

Although Latvala's championship hopes have looked remote since he broke his collarbone in April, Sebastien Loeb's victory in France last weekend was the final confirmation that the Frenchman and Citroen had wrapped up the drivers' and constructors' crowns, defeating Latvala's Ford team.

"Chasing wins has been obviously been a target throughout the season but points finishes no longer have any real meaning, so victories are our only real goal now," said Latvala.

The Finn reckons Sardinia's new-for-2012 stages are reminiscent of his home event - and is hoping that familiarity will bring him another win in Italy.

"They are wider and smoother than the other stages," said Latvala, winner in Sardinia in 2009.

"Their character is more like the roads in Finland, without the big jumps, so there's more room in which to position the car.

"The usual stages have a thin layer of fine gravel on the surface which makes them slippery for the first pass.

"The team has always been strong in Sardinia and after making a step forward in pace at the last gravel rally in Wales, I'm confident of another strong result."

Latvala's Ford team-mate Petter Solberg has also won in Italy, taking laurels on the first ever WRC round on Sardinia in 2004. The Norwegian says qualifying will be vital next week.

"The roads are very sandy in some places," he said. "That means Thursday's qualifying is important because it will be essential to have a good start position for the opening day.

"If it's dry it will be better to start further down the order and there just aren't the kilometres to make up time lost during the first leg because of a bad start position.

"The team goes into this rally full of confidence on gravel after the win in Wales. We improved the balance and suspension on the Fiesta before that event and the changes improved performance.

"But the characteristics of the two rallies are totally different, and the only comparison is that they are held on loose surface roads. However, the roads in Sardinia are fantastic and I will push hard."

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