It was widely expected in WRC circles, and this morning Volkswagen Motorsport confirmed the rumours by announcing the signing of Jari-Matti Latvala to its 2013 Polo R WRC campaign. The 27 year-old Finn comes complete with his co-driver Miika Anttila and both will be on the starting line on the Rallye Monte Carlo on 15-20 January 2013, along with Frenchmen Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. The Finn goes to Volkswagen after five years at Ford (both it and Mini have withdrawn WRC works teams for 2013).
Latvala is both quick and experienced, according to Volkswagen Motorsport, and has seven WRC victories to his name. Finishing world champion runner-up in 2010, he was the youngest rally winner in WRC history, following his first success in two years before. ‘We’re proud and pleased to have gained Jari-Matti Latvala for our World Rally Championship project. He’s a true reinforcement for our team,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. ‘In Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala we’ve got an excellent top-flight driver line-up for the debut of the Polo R WRC in the 2013 World Rally Championship.’
‘I’m very happy to be driving the Polo R WRC in the 2013 World Rally Championship. The determined approach of the Volkswagen team convinced me to accept this challenge,’ said Latvala. ‘My time at Ford was very valuable and I would like to thank everyone who supported me there in the past years – it wasn’t easy for me to say goodbye. 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 VW.’