Volkswagen's Latvala backs changes to WRC Rally Finland route

Three-time Rally Finland winner Jari-Matti Latvala says this year's WRC event will be even more challenging following changes to the route - including reversing the iconic Ouninpohja stage

Volkswagen's Latvala backs changes to WRC Rally Finland route

The super-fast rollercoaster run through Ouninpohja is a favourite among the drivers, but the current crop have only ever competed on the 20-mile test one way.

In 2008, Rally Finland ran half of Ouninpohja in the reverse direction, but the July event is the first time it will be switched in its entirety since 1994.

"It will be a big challenge," Volkswagen's Latvala told Autosport.

"OK, we did half of it in 2008, but that was the small road - we didn't drive the faster, wider road in this direction before.

"The challenge will come in knowing where are the jumps, how will he car react in some of these places?"

Latvala admitted one of the biggest questions would centre on the famous yellow house jump.

"This one we all know it so well coming the normal way, but in opposite direction, the car will really drop down," he said.

"And the speed coming to the jump will be very, very fast - we will be flat out for a long time before this jump. It can be the nasty one."

Ouninpohja was the fastest stage of the rally in 2015, with an average of 78mph over its 20 miles.

Running in the opposite direction will reduce the average speed.

"Maybe that's why the organisers made the change," said Latvala.

"I have to say, looking at the route, I am happy with what I have seen.

"There are a lot of stages, I like this - it means a lot for the fans to follow."

Current WRC regulations make no stipulation about the average speed for stages, with a 130kph/80mph maximum scrapped by the FIA.

"Usually when a stage is turned around, the speed comes down a bit, but usually only for one year or maybe even only for the first running of it," Rally Finland clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen told Autosport.

"There is very little an organiser can do for their event's average speed, as the roads you can use don't give very much variation [in high-speed nature]."

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