Why J-ML can thrive again

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

It’s im­por­tant to put Jari-matti Lat­vala’s words into con­text here. He’s crit­i­cis­ing nei­ther Volkswagen nor Se­bastien Ogier. Typ­i­cally, it’s him­self he’s tak­ing to task. Put short, Lat­vala couldn’t get it into his head how his col­league could take the same kit and do what he was do­ing with the car.

So he went down the road of try­ing to copy him – only to find mad­ness rather than ti­tle-win­ning speed down there.

Lat­vala looked a dif­fer­ent driver in Monte Carlo. Once he’d set­tled into the event, he looked more like his com­fort­able, care­free self of old. And this could be the key to J-ML’S sea­son. No­body could deny he’s al­ways had the speed to chal­lenge the quick­est, but it’s the con­fi­dence that he’s lacked.

How many times did we hear him talk­ing about a lack of faith in the car un­der him on a Fri­day morn­ing last sea­son? Now we know why: he’d mir­rored the set-up of Volkswagen’s sis­ter car, only to be un­der­mined by Ogier as the #1 Polo took se­cond af­ter se­cond out of him. The an­swer? Force the pace un­til he a) went off the road or, b) got to the end of the stage some way be­hind the French­man, where he would talk about a lack of con­fi­dence in the car.

It was a vi­cious cir­cle that could only be bro­ken by leav­ing Ogier’s side.

Let’s see how that works out.

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