Jari-Matti Latvala speaks candidly: “New system could save us”

The day had a sombre tone for Toyota at the Rally de Portugal.
Jari-Matti Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala. Photo by: Pentti-Oskari Ilmonen
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Despite Toyota driver Sébastien Ogier finishing Saturday in first place, securing a substantial provisional points haul for the evening, the day was marred by Kalle Rovanperä‘s retirement from the lead and Takamoto Katsuta‘s withdrawal from the podium battle.

Under current rules, provisional points are awarded based on Saturday evening’s overall standings. Hyundai now holds more provisional points than Toyota, with Hyundai’s Ott Tänak in second place and Thierry Neuville in third.

There are more points up for grabs on Sunday, where the maximum haul is 12 points based on overall and Power Stage results.

“The new points system could save us. It offers that chance. We had a bad day today, but there’s an opportunity to score points on Sunday,” Latvala told RallyJournal.com frankly.

“But in this system, you can’t afford to retire on Sunday. If two cars retire on Sunday, the gap cannot be closed, as winning no longer carries as much weight. You can make mistakes on Friday or Saturday, but Sunday is a no-error day,” the Toyota boss emphasised.

Latvala expressed hope that Rovanperä, who will continue the competition on Sunday, can still fight for crucial points during the rally’s final day. However, Rovanperä’s starting position poses a significant challenge.

“Kalle’s starting position is not ideal, as he will have to open the road. There’s a lot of loose gravel on the surface that he’ll have to sweep. This will be challenging, but I can guarantee that Kalle will be going for it,” Latvala stated.

“He’ll give it his all. If he manages to finish in the top three on Sunday, that would be huge. It would significantly help the team in the manufacturers’ championship fight.”

The final day of the Rally de Portugal will feature four stages.

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