Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala will leave the Ford works rally team and drive for Volkswagen next season, the German carmaker announced on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old, who has driven for Ford for five years, will join French driver Sebastien Ogier at Volkswagen. Jari-Matti Latvala together with co-driver Miikka Anttila will be driving a Polo R WRC starting at Rallye Monte Carlo (15–20 January 2013).
Latvala is regarded as one of the world’s quickest and most experienced rally drivers. The 27-year-old Finn has achieved victories at seven WRC rounds, finished the 2010 season as the runner-up in the world championship and, since his first rally success in 2008, maintained the record as the youngest rally winner in WRC history.
“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,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito.
“I’m very happy to be driving the Polo R WRC in the World Rally Championship in future. The determined approach of the Volkswagen team convinced me to accept this challenge. I’ve taken this decision in order to make another step towards reaching my big aim: the world champion’s title with Volkswagen,” said Jari-Matti Latvala.
Ford announced this week that it will retire from the WRC at the end of this season.