/ Motorsport

Jari-Matti Latvala targets podium finish in Rally Guanajuato Mexico

Updated: Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 16:05 | Comments

Jari-Matti Latvala: 'We want at least to finish in the points. A place on the podium would be great'
Jari-Matti Latvala: 'We want at least to finish in the points. A place on the podium would be great'

World Rally Championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala is feeling confident ahead of this weekend's Rally Guanajuato Mexico and has targeted a place on the podium after a strong finish last time out.

The 28-year-old Volkswagen driver from Finland came out of top in Sweden last month as he entered the final day with a slender advantage over team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, who ended up clipping a snow bank and losing more than 20 seconds.

The cancellation of the Sweden event's 19th stage also helped Latvala's cause and he eventually cruised home to take just his second victory for Volkswagen by 53.6 seconds.

The win meant Latvala took the lead in the overall standings - after the first two races of the season - from reigning champion Sebastien Ogier, who sits five points off the pace in second.

And looking towards this weekend's third round of the championship in Mexico, he told www.wrc.com: "A place on the podium would be great.

"The win in Sweden was a special moment for me, and has obviously given me an extra dose of confidence.

"The scrapping of qualifying means I, as the championship leader, have to be first out onto the route.

"It goes without saying that this is a handicap. However, rules are rules.

"We want at least to finish in the points. A place on the podium would be great."

While his French team-mate Ogier, who won the season-opening race in Monte Carlo, admitted getting off to a good start was top priority as he aims to wrestle the championship lead back from Latvala.

Looking for his 17th rally win, Ogier said: "We must perform well on opening day.

"As the second car out, we start in the knowledge that the road conditions will improve with each car.

"My starting position is definitely better than that of my team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, but the guys behind us will have even better conditions.

"We will have to perform as well as possible on the opening day, in order not to throw away any hopes of victory early on."

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