Jari-Matti Latvala’s stern request to the team’s top driver – “We need to start driving”

Toyota WRC team principal Jari-Matti Latvala is asking for a higher performance level from his Welsh driver Elfyn Evans.
Jari-Matti Latvala.
Jari-Matti Latvala. Photo by: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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Evans has shown poor pace both in Rally de Portugal in May and last weekend at Rally Sardinia. Although his starting position has been unfavourable, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville has achieved significantly better results from an even worse starting position.

Latvala hopes that Evans can perform better in the fast gravel rallies this summer. Just playing it safe is no longer enough. Otherwise, Hyundai will pull away in both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.

“Elfyn definitely didn’t have his best performance, and neither did he in Portugal. With consistent performance, he has been able to claw back some points and is therefore in a better position. We must remember that even (Sebastien) Ogier managed to catch up with Neuville, and he is closer to the top,” Latvala told RallyJournal.com in Sardinia.

“The competition is tighter and more interesting now. Playing it safe is no longer sufficient. We need to start driving and find the fighting spirit and determination for Poland. We must ensure that everyone is ready for it.”

Neuville achieved an extraordinary feat in Sardinia on Sunday, scoring the highest points of the day, a total of 12, from the first starting position. Few believed in the Belgian’s chances after he retired on Saturday, including Latvala.

“I wouldn’t have believed that Neuville could achieve such a performance as the first car and be the fastest on Sunday, even winning the Power Stage. Hats off to him. No one has ever managed such a performance on these stages before,” Latvala summarised.

“He surely drove with a high level of risk, but he also brought the car to the finish. That’s an incredible performance.”

The World Rally Championship continues in Poland at the end of June, followed by rounds in Latvia in July and on the gravel roads of Finland in early August.

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