DirtFish can reveal Jari-Matti Latvala’s intentions to return to the World Rally Championship as a driver.
Latvala has always felt his career behind the wheel remained open and we can now share his plans to get back to the sport’s sharp end.
In his own words, Toyota’s team principal said: “I am 37 years old now. I have competed on Rally Finland 17 times and won it three times. I would like to drive it one more time before I am 40.”
Latvala admitted working at this year’s Jyväskylä event and then competing and winning the Lahti Historic Rally just days later reminded him how much he wanted to drive at home at the highest level one more time.
“This is something I have been thinking to for a while,” said Latvala, “but Rally Finland and Lahti did make me think more. I want one more go, at the latest before I’m 40 – this gives me some time to make it happen.
“Also, right now, I am competing in 209 rounds of the world championship, it would be nice to make that number 210!”
Having completed some demonstration running in a GR Yaris Rally1, Latvala is very keen to put some numbers on the door and drive one in anger.
He added: “To experience the new generation cars in a place like Finland would be something special and now I have [a] few years to sort it out.”
AKK, the governing body of Finnish motorsport, made a regular feature out of offering retired legends one more drive on their home WRC round. Markku Alén, Timo Salonen, Ari Vatanen and Juha Kankkunen have all returned to drive a World Rally Car in the twilight of their careers to mark their 50th birthdays.
“If I can do this before I am 40,” said Latvala, “then maybe they will help me to come back again when I am 50!”