On The Limit: Jari-Matti Latvala, Rally Portugal

TMR’s Video Of The Week

Driver: Jari-Matti Latvala (Co-driver: Miikka Anttila)
Car: Ford Focus WRC
Team: BP Ford World Rally Team
Series: World Rally Championship
Event: 2009 Rally de Portugal

Background: You’ve probably heard of Jari-Matti’s crash last weekend in which he and co-driver Miikka rolled 17 times down a mountain and survived with barely a scratch. What you probably haven’t seen, and neither had I, was the build-up to the crash and the way he was driving through the stage. It seems his team boss had already warned him to calm down his driving after crashing out early in two previous events this year.

Important note: Please don’t think I’m joining the ranks of the ‘crash-happy’ who go trawling YT for smash-ups. This is to celebrate his driving and the fantastic safety work done by the FIA and the Ford World Rally Team.

This is some of the best driving I’ve ever seen, there are times you can barely watch – and this is the calmed down version?!

(taken from The Official WRC YouTube Channel).

You can see how the crash was only caused by a knock against a barrier, pushing him to the right over the edge of the cliff.

Here’s the external view and a word from the man himself:

They were both VERY lucky indeed, a testament to the major safety improvements made in WRC over the last decade.

More from Latvala (via Autosport.com): “It was all my fault, I had the corner marked with a double caution, but the night before, I changed it. I have realised you should never change your notes after the recce. I realised we were going to crash, so I tried to use the Armco to slow the car. But it rolled over it and then it rolled and rolled. I can remember the crashing and the roll cage coming in. I thought: ‘We cannot survive this, it’s just not stopping.’ When it did stop, I looked to my co-driver Miikka and his eyes were red and full of blood because we had been upside down so many times. After I checked we were okay, I said: ‘Maybe this was our last rally.'”

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