Popular Finn breaks WRC record in Sweden
Jari-Matti Latvala became the most experienced driver in WRC history when he started Rally Sweden.
It was his 197th WRC start, although the result may not have been as good as he had hoped for.
Fittingly, the Finn broke the record at the snow and ice fixture in which he claimed his maiden victory in 2008, when he became the youngest driver to win a world rally at 22 years and 313 days.
Latvala, who beats the record of Spain’s double world champion, Carlos Sainz, made his WRC debut in 2002. This is his 12th consecutive year as a manufacturer driver and he has a proud record of having won at least once every season.
“It’s a big honour. Starting as a young boy this wasn’t my goal. My target has been to try to win the drivers’ championship, but that has not happened up to now,” said the Toyota Yaris driver, who has finished runner-up three times.
“It’s quite special to reach this landmark in Sweden, the rally where I made my first victory,” added 33-year-old Latvala, whose co-driver, Miikka Anttila, became the first competitor to reach 200 WRC rallies last season.
Latvala has four Swedish victories to his name and starts as one of the favourites to add another at the championship’s only pure winter round, which features frozen forest roads in Sweden and Norway.
“Sweden is my favourite event. I love driving on studded winter tyres in wet snow conditions,” he said.
Double world champion Marcus Grönholm, five times a Sweden winner, made a guest appearance. The Finn drove a Yaris as a belated 50th birthday present to himself, nine years after his last WRC appearance.