Jari-Matti Latvala has told DirtFish he has the budget for this summer’s Rally Finland and – coronavirus permitting – will start his home World Rally Championship round for the 18th time.
Latvala lost his full-time Toyota seat at the end of last season, but found sponsorship to help him tackle a limited program of WRC rounds in a Yaris WRC – starting with February’s Rally Sweden.
He was also handed a credit note in the shape of a replacement rally after Toyota team principal Tommi Mäkinen apologized for the error his squad made in the preparation of Latvala’s car for the Torsby-based event. An electrical problem forced Latvala’s Toyota to stop on the event’s third stage.
Initially, Mäkinen and Latvala were working on a plan to return the WRC’s most experienced driver to the stages in Sardinia, but the postponement of the Italian island event now makes Jyväskylä the next most likely outing.
“I have the funding and everything ready for Finland,” said Latvala. “Now we have to just hope the event is running. The first plan I had for this year always included Sweden and Finland. I can do something else [as well], but like you can imagine Finland and competing at home is special for me.
“Right now we can just wait to find out what is happening with coronavirus.”
If the WRC lockdown is lifted in time for Rally Finland – the previous round in Kenya hasn’t been postponed or cancelled yet, but it’s reckoned only a matter of time before the Safari’s news is confirmed – that could work in Latvala’s favor.
None of the drivers will have tested or competed for almost five months, largely negating his time out of the car.
“I don’t like to think like this,” Latvala affirms. “I don’t think there’s anything really good coming from the current situation. But I guess you are right.
“If you don’t have so much time in the car then you come straight to Jyväskylä, you are going to have a small hesitation at the start of the event. Maybe that could work [in my favor] if I could find the commitment straight away.”