Latvala training on asphalt for the RallyRACC

Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) 

The RallyRACC seems to be becoming extremely important for the outcome of the 2009 WRC. One of the Ford drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala, even decided to take racing classes in his home country, Finland, in order to improve his asphalt driving ahead of the Spanish race. This end of the season will be extremely tight, and Fordís efforts to let their drivers move ahead of the CitroŽn drivers in the world championship standings becomes even more important in Spain, where the two CitroŽn drivers are the clear favourites.

Sťbastien Loeb has won the RallyRACC every year since 2005, with Dani Sordo finishing second in the last three years. These figures show clearly that Hirvonen and Latvala must be very well prepared for this event. Ford knows that in order to take over the lead in the Manufacturer's Championship from CitroŽn, they need their drivers to be on the top two positions of all of the rallies ahead.

Mikko Hirvonen has already shown repeatedly that he does extremely well on asphalt, but Jari-Matti Latvala still has a lot to improve: ďI do not drive a rally car on the circuit in which I'm taking classes in Finland. I have a four-wheel-drive sportscar and work on braking in corners, which is something I have to improve. I know that beating Dani in Catalunya is very tough but if I can at least give him some pressure, that would be very good for the team and for me

Latvala will be back at the Finnish school in September, shortly before the RallyRACC Catalunya-COSTA DAURADA, Rally de EspaŮa. Latvala is eager to amend for his mistakes in previous races and is looking forward to helping Mikko Hirvonen in order to break CitroŽn's stronghold on the Spanish race.

Latvala has never stood out in the event based in Salou and PortAventura. Of the five times he has taken part in the race, his best result was last seasonís sixth place and a seventh position in the previous season, both times at the wheel of a Focus RS WRC. On the other hand, Hirvonen has raced the RallyRACC six times and his best results are two third positions, in 2008 and 2005, both with a Ford Focus as well. In 2005, Hirvonen, took the step of the podium from Xevi Pons, after a finish that will always be remembered as one of the most thrilling.