Prior to the start of the penultimate event in the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship, Volkswagen announces that they have signed one of the top Finns for the 2013 season.Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila will leave the Ford factory team for a new challenge racing the Polo R WRC.
At the age of 27, Latvala currently sits third in the standings, and he just discovered that Ford will no longer sponsor their top team. “I’m very happy to be driving the Polo R WRC in the World Rally Championship in future,” said Latvala.
Volkswagen’s Polo will make its debut in 2013; the team has been running a Skoda Fabia this season as they prepare for the future. Latvala and Anttila’s new teammates will be Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
“We’re proud and highly pleased to have gained Jari-Matti Latvala for our World Rally Championship project. He’s one of the most distinguished WRC drivers in the field and has experience, aggressiveness and exceptional speed. I’ve known Jari-Matti since his early days in rallying and have been watching his development very closely. He’s a true reinforcement for our team,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito.
Latvala has not had an easy year but at the same time, the Finn kept pushing for the valuable points and for overall victories. He scored the win in Rally Sweden on the ice and snow! The Finn later took the victory in Wales Rally Great Britain. There are two events yet to contest, but the fight for the championship was sealed in the French rally when Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena took their record breaking ninth championship.
Latvala will finish out ride with Ford in Italy and in Spain. “The time at Ford was very valuable for me and I would like to thank everyone who supported me there in the past years – it wasn’t easy for me to say goodbye,” he said. “At the same time, I see the change as a personal new beginning. I’ve taken this decision in order to make another step towards reaching my big aim: the world champion’s title with Volkswagen.”