Fords Jari-Matti Latvala has set the fastest time in Qualifying on Brother Rally New Zealand, the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The 27-year-old Finn finished with a time of 2m31.8s and has earned the right to select the first starting position ahead of tomorrow’s opening day. Citroen Total World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen finished second quickest in 2m32.2s, a slender 0.2s ahead of factory Ford driver Petter Solberg who was third fastest.
“More than half the competitive distance is on the first day so the start position here makes a big difference. I really tried hard to take the fastest time and this now gives me the perfect position from which to choose where I want to start tomorrow,” explained Latvala.
Deciding the road position could be crucial, as it’s Winter in New Zealand, and the weather conditions could play a big part. Latvala won rally NZ last time out back in 2010. Seb Loeb has only won the event twice in 05 & 08. Petter Solberg won back in 2004. And so many of the top drivers have good experience of this unpredictable event. It could be anyones rally.