Latvala explains the factors for title-loss in his WRC career

Jari-Matti Latvala understands now the reasons why he did not become a WRC Champion in his career thanks to his drivers as he noticed their behavior throughout this year.

The Finn driver started his WRC career in 2002 when he competed in Great Britain with a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI and he joined M-Sport one year later.

He became the youngest ever driver who won a WRC event, but this record is now in Kalle Rovanpera's hands as he won Rally Estonia at the age of 20 while JML was the WRC driver with the most starts total as he had participated in 209 events.

Moreover, he had won 18 times in his career and he had finished 67 times in the podium positions while he had been a driver for M-Sport, Toyota and Volkswagen.

However, despite the fact that he had been 18 years in the main category of WRC he did never become a Driver World Rally Champion in his career.

"Observing our drivers this season, I’ve seen how they have behaved during the season and I think the first mistake I did was that I went on the wrong track", Latvala said.

"I wouldn’t say I did this early in my career, more towards the end.

"I was on this wrong track maybe because I wanted to win the championship so much. 

"The energy, how I used it, I used it wrong. 

"I was thinking about the tire choices, then not making the decision, then waiting for the last-minute and maybe swapping them around.

"All of this was going on in my head.

"And then I was doing the same with the set-up. 

"All the time, I was trying to find the optimum to be the best, the best, the best.

"I didn’t accept making a compromise and the focus started to go in the wrong way. 

"I should’ve kept calm, thought about things and then made a decision and gone forwards.

"Like I said, my energy was focused in the wrong way. 

"Instead of thinking all the time to the tires and the set-up, I can see now that I should have taken time in the service park to recharge my batteries. 

"Instead, I was walking around all the time looking and thinking too much and already I couldn’t recharge myself.

"I think more fitness would’ve brought me more stability – this is what you see from the boys now, they’re in pretty good shape.

"I tried to force the championship.

"I tried to force it to come to me and you can’t do this. 

"You can’t force it.

"If it doesn’t come to you, then you start to overthink the thing and then you’re trying so hard to do everything perfectly, trying to make everything right, to take every meter of the road.

"This overworking makes you lose the relaxed feelings. 

"I could see this a little bit with Elfyn in the middle of the season. 

"I told him not to take the pressure of the championship, especially after Greece.

"Looking back, I think I should also have done more training. 

"My fitness was OK, don’t get me wrong, and when I was at Volkswagen I was in good shape. 

"I wasn’t in bad shape at Toyota, but maybe I should have done more.

"I think I had the speed for the championship, that was not the problem, but I kept doing these mistakes. 

"Maybe the extra fitness would have given me more stability and more focus. 

"I can see this from the boys now.

"That’s what I learned. 

"It would be nice now to tell myself these things earlier in my career. 

"Maybe the story could have been different".


Photo Credits: Toyota

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