Latvala received mental help after the end of his WRC career

Jari-Matti Latvala confesses that he addressed to mental coaches at the end of his career in WRC as it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that he would not compete again in WRC and he would not become a World Rally Champion.

The Finn driver joined Toyota squad in 2017 and he was out of WRC competition at the end of 2019 as his contract with the team expired and he could not find an available WRC seat for next season.

The Japanese team decided not to renew Latvala's contract for 2020 and chose Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera as its regular drivers for that year.

However, Latvala participated in Rally Sweden as a privateer last year, but he was forced to retire due to mechanical issues of his Yaris.

Finally, due to the fact that Tommi Makinen left Toyota at the end of 2020, the team got in touch with Latvala for the team principal position and he accepted their proposal, therefore he became the team principal of Toyota in 2021.

"When I didn’t get the contract for 2020, that was the moment that basically hit me quite hard", Latvala said.

"Basically you realise that now you are not going to be a world champion. 

"If you are over 30, you can be a short time away, but the longer the break is, the more difficult it is to come back. 

"You start to lose the speed which is making you push to the limits, and that started to fade away in 2020. 

"When I got the phone call from Toyota and they asked me to become a team principal, I had to fight with myself because I knew that I was not going to be a world champion as a driver. 

"That last hope is gone.

"For me, I felt that sometimes if you use help for the mental side, it basically says that you are weak. 

"No, it doesn’t mean that you are weak.

"If you don’t see very well, you have glasses. 

"It doesn’t make you weaker that your eyes are not that good, because you can correct it with the eyeglasses. 

"It’s an area that you can correct and fine-tune and even improve yourself to become mentally strong.  

"I have been working with the mental coaches at the end of my career, and what I understood is that it doesn't change me as a person if I am world champion or not.

"It’s something in rally which we want to achieve - we want to get from the sport - and we think that it will change us as a person. 

"It doesn’t change your personality. 

"It doesn’t change you as a person. 

"Of course, you have something which, for you on a personal side, is very important, and of course people might see that you are special because you are world champion, but inside of yourself, you are still the same".


Photo Credits: Toyota

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