Asking a man like Jari-Matti Latvala for his best memory of Rally Finland is unfair. There are just too many for the 36-year-old to choose from.
So, instead, DirtFish went for Latvala’s first Rally Finland memory. Predictably, for a such a learned rallying historian, he’s able to recall it in glorious technicolour.
“It was the 1992 1000 Lakes Rally,” said Latvala, talking of an event which was won by a non-Nordic for only the second time, with Didier Auriol’s triumph following up Carlos Sainz’s in 1990.
“My father was competing, driving a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 and, for sure, it would have been a really exciting moment for me to see him in this rally for the first time.
“The rally was at the end of August and I remember it was cooler temperatures and it was raining a lot – and I remember we had to walk a long, long time to get to the stage.
“I don’t recall exactly which stage, but it was coming quite to the darkness.
“One of the things I remember the most was seeing Juha Kankkunen’s Lancia [Delta HF Intergrale] coming through with the lamp pod on the front. He wasn’t using the lights, maybe it wasn’t quite dark enough, but the pod was on and it looked good.”
Latvala Jr’s memory was definitely on the first evening of the 1992 event, as his father Jari Latvala retired his Galant from seventh in Group N on the final stage of the opening loop with engine failure.
A decade on from that memory and Jari-Matti made his debut in the World Rally Championship at the 2002 Rally GB. Eighteen years on he won Rally Finland for the first time.