Latvala WRC comeback would only be “for one or two” years

Jari-Matti Latvala says he will concentrate "110%" on rallying alone if WRC comeback materializes


Jari-Matti Lavtala knows he has to give “110% to rallying” if he gets the chance to compete full-time in the World Rally Championship again.

The Finn told DirtFish his aim is for a full-time return in 2022 to compete for “one or two” more seasons.

Latvala was signed by Toyota when it rejoined the World Rally Championship in 2017 but was let go at the end of last year as Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä in a complete reshuffle of the team’s line-up.

Latvala’s plans reverted to a privately funded, part-program in 2020 but he pulled the funding for that as soon as Rally Finland was canceled.

Instead, he is focusing on delaying that private program until 2021 to showcase his talents.

Latvala admits a season lay-off has been “good for myself” but the goal still remains a full-time 2022 seat where he plans to give rallying all of his concentration – something he hasn’t always done in the past.

“If I have the chance to go back, I know I have to do 110% for the rallying,” he told DirtFish.

“I can’t do anything else and think [about] any other things and only about rallying. During my career I have been building things, making things on the side because I have been always preparing when the day comes that I can’t drive anymore on a professional level that I have something else, that basically I’m not left empty handed. You’re not in the situation where there is nothing to do.

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Photo: André Lavadinho

“So I had to create this historic rallying business on the side. Of course I know now after, looking back at my career, it was also taking a little bit of energy away and maybe some commitment and I know that if I come back then I have to do it 110%, there is nothing else than the rallying.

“But I know if you do that, the energy will be for only one or two seasons, it will be so hard at that point. So maybe ’22 and ’23.”

Latvala’s prefered option is to return to the WRC with Toyota, but he “would have to consider” other offers should they be forthcoming.

He is confident he can still be competitive in the WRC and that he will be an asset when the new regulations come in 2022 due to his experience.

“I have been driving with three different teams [Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota]. I have experience of the WRC cars from three generations,” he said.

“With that experience I can do the development work of the car, comparing to the years that we have done before.

“I am looking more for the year 2022 because when the new cars are coming, the new regulations, the experience that I have to try and develop that, the technology for ’22, this is what I think I could offer.”

Words:Luke Barry

Photos:André Lavadinho