20 de abril de 2012

Q & A com Jari-Matti Latvala

Where are you in the world right now and how are you feeling? “I am in the west of Finland in Tuuri, my home town. I have to say I am pretty okay. I don’t have pain in my left arm but it’s still with a safety belt around it so I cannot use it. In my mind I am quite good too. It’s a big, big disappointment I can’t drive in Argentina but on the other hand when I return in Greece I will be more motivated than ever.”

We hate to go over this again but can you explain what happened? “I was just returning from training. I had been skiing for 18 kilometres and I just had to make one downhill section of 300 metres to get to the road when I fell. When I landed I felt all the weight on my left shoulder and I was quickly in really, really a lot of pain. I was struggling to get to the road but I phoned my mother who was at our winter cottage. Within 20 minutes she had got me to a small hospital where they took the x-rays. But the pain was enormous, really, really bad.”

The focus must now be on getting fit for the Acropolis Rally. How much hard work is ahead for you? “I am seeing a physiotherapist every week. In fact tonight I leave for Helsinki for a meeting tomorrow. I want to get the heeling started and the movement back as soon as possible. The operation was one week ago and I still have to use the support belt for one more week. After this there will be more flexibility and I can really begin to work on it. But the doctors are confident I will be ready for Acropolis.”

Greece is obviously regarded as one of the toughest rallies in the calendar. How much of a concern is that for you? “Well actually Argentina would almost have been possible. The problem was the recce. I needed two weeks between the operation and the recce starting to have tried to be there but I was three days too late. But actually there would have been a lot of stress for the arm over three long days and I couldn’t risk it. The doctors said if there had been a problem with the steel plate and the screws then everything would have had to happen again and it would have been two or three months to recover. It was better to miss one rally than the rest of the season.”

It’s good to hear you’ll be ready for the Acropolis but will you be ready for the pre-event test your team has planned? “I hope so and the doctors are confident I will be fine. The only thing will be the pain. I don’t know what this will be like but I will just have to live with it and hope it won’t cause any problems. I can always take painkillers.”

Based on your pace so far this season you’d have been one of the favourites to win in Argentina. How much harder does that make missing the event? “To be honest I have had a difficult start to the season. Okay I have won one rally and I have been leading the others so there are many positives but I have to accept this year has been difficult and my chances of the title are not very good now. But it’s better to have all your troubles in a row.”

Will you follow Rally Argentina next week or will you try to forget it’s happening? “I will follow it very carefully. I will get the stage times to my phone after every stage. Of course I want to drive and I feel bad that I am not because rallying is my passion.”

What do you think of your replacement for Argentina, Dani Sordo? Was he the right choice and what can he do in your car? “Dani has been driving very well in Argentina before and showed good speed in Portugal. We know he is very quick and I believe the Ford is a very strong car and the team is very strong also. Dani has all the possibilities to be on the podium.”

And what about Petter Solberg, your team-mate. What can he do on this event? “He will be fighting for the victory, no question. He won’t dominate because nowadays it is very difficult to do that because it is so close. There will be a big fight and you never know about the weather conditions. The length of the new stages will also make the rally very difficult.”

How frustrating is it to miss out on those new stages? “It would have been very important to see those stages but I am sure I will get some information from my team.”

Your team boss Malcolm Wilson says you are still capable of winning the world title this season. How good does that make you feel? “It feels really, really good to hear that and to know the team is still behind me. It’s always good to have this kind of self-confidence but I don’t want to think about the title. I want to go rally by rally now, do the best I can and see where we are at the end of the season.”

Fonte: WRC.com

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