Jari-Matti Latvala issues strong message to the WRC – “That’s incredibly frustrating”

Toyota's WRC team experienced a mixed performance at the Rally de Portugal.
Jari-Matti Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala. Photo by: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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While Sebastien Ogier celebrated a victory, both Kalle Rovanperä and Takamoto Katsuta ended their rallies with retirements on Saturday. Elfyn Evans suffered an engine failure on Sunday, which eliminated him from the Super Sunday’s points.

Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala once again strongly criticized the World Rally Championship’s new points system. Despite the victory, Ogier received the second-highest number of points for the weekend, following Hyundai’s Ott Tänak, who finished second.

“To be completely honest with you, I am not satisfied. We won this rally, but Ogier did not receive the most points, and as a result, we lost 11 points (against Hyundai) in the manufacturers’ standings,” Latvala emphasized.

“It feels like the victory doesn’t really compensate. It’s better to just race for third or fourth place because that’s what matters most in this system. That’s incredibly frustrating. The value of a victory is virtually nil.”

While the system is the same for everyone, making complaints seem unnecessary, Latvala acknowledged that the drivers need to eliminate mistakes. Under the new system, there’s no room for error if they are to contend in the manufacturers’ championship.

“There’s nothing to be done about it. We just need to buckle down and ensure that our drivers can perform consistently so that we can compete more effectively. Even if we fall behind, we try to fight back,” Latvala summed up.

Rovanperä has driven in three WRC events this season and has retired in two. Going forward, the focus must be not just on winning but also on the team.

“The most important thing is to avoid mistakes. This puts greater pressure on the drivers. Even if the car isn’t the best performance-wise, being consistently in the top four is sufficient. This kind of adds pressure on the drivers,” Latvala reflected.

“I am not concerned about performance, but it is crucial to ensure that we avoid tyre punctures and succeed with all drivers in competition. This system significantly emphasizes the importance of considering the team’s role.”

However, the team principal is not worried about Rovanperä. Mistakes have occurred, but the fast gravel rallies this summer must mark a turnaround.

“Kalle doesn’t need to worry about his personal points. There’s no risk in that. When you compete in the series, you have to consider that you lose a lot if you forfeit all points. Now, that aspect is absent. He can afford to take a bit more risk,” Latvala considered.

“Kalle has top speed. No one could keep up when he took off. Now we just need to keep it all together and avoid mistakes.”

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