WRC - Latvala: Rallye du Var will be tough for Kubica

Ford driver and Rallye du Var winner Jari-Matti Latvala says Robert Kubica should content himself with a podium on the French event next weekend.

Rally Argentina - Latvala elects to run last in Argentina

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Jari-Matti Latvala

Kubica is driving a factory-specification Citroen C4 WRC on this weekend's Rally di Como in preparation for the Sainte-Maxine-based French Rally Championship round a week later.

Latvala tackled Rallye du Var as part of his Monte Carlo Rally build-up last year, and the Finn reckons it was one of the toughest events he had competed on.

"Robert shouldn't take too much pressure to go for the victory there," said Latvala.

"It is a tough, tough rally. I remember last year, some of the French guys, the local drivers, were beating me on the first run through the stages and I thought: 'I'm not sure how I can go quicker...'

"The competition is going to be very tight when he is there. It was a very difficult rally, which is why I think Robert should be looking for the top three to be a good result."

Latvala said the nature of the roads around the Cotes d'Azur required a very detailed set of pace notes.

"The stages are like Corsica," said Latvala, "only faster. There are no straights, all the time it's corner, corner, corner. I remember thinking at the time how important the pace notes were, you couldn't recognise where you were in the middle of any of the stages."

Elsewhere, Ford Racing director Gerard Quinn has praised the work of M-Sport, the British team which took the Blue Oval to two world rally titles, on the eve of Ford's final World Rally Championship outing.

Ford hosted key members of the WRC media at a function in Salou last night, ahead of today's Barcelona start of the Catalunya Rally.

Quinn admitted his time working with M-Sport's managing director Malcolm Wilson had been one of the highlights of his career with the Blue Oval.

Quinn said: "I had the privilege of watching this guy competing when I was a kid, and I never thought at the time that I would have the privilege of working with him. It has been, at times, challenging, confrontational, it has been funny - drunk once or twice – but overall it's been a fantastic relationship with Malcolm [Wilson].

"The people that work in the team are some of the most fantastic people I have met in my life. The team has been hugely successful in terms of spirit as well as achievements and accomplishments.

"Ford won't be in the World Rally Championship in 2013, but that's not to say Ford won't be in rallying – we will continue to support the drivers of Ford rally cars around the world and who's to say that, in the future, we won't step back into the world championship."

After watching film footage of the M-Sport's 50 WRC wins, an emotional Wilson said: "I have to say a big thank you to Ford Motor Company, to have supported the WRC for so long is amazing – we've had an incredible 16 years.

"As for me, well, I don't know anything other than the World Rally Championship, so you're going to have to put up with me for a few years yet!"

This week's Catalunya Rally will be the final event for the Ford World Rally Team, following Ford's decision to withdraw its title sponsorship from the team.

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