FIA World Rally Championship

Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala: “It has been a successful event for us in the past”

2 Mins read
Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

After a promising but difficult start to the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship at the season-opener Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT will be aiming for a more successful second round at the Rally Sweden this weekend in the new Rally1 hybrid era.

The new Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car showed a lot of potential with great results in Monte-Carlo, as they were denied the win the rally on the penultimate stage, where M-Sport’s Sébastien Loeb won over his compatriot Sébastien Ogier with just a small margin, as Ogier received a time penalty.

Heading to the new rally will be the regular driver line-up of Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä, as Rally Sweden is not part of Ogier’s part-time program, the returning Esapekka Lappi will take his seat – driving for the team for first time since 2018, albeit renting a Toyota Yaris WRC with support from the team last year in Rally Finland.

Toyota have previously had success on snow and ice, the current Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala claimed the first win for the team on it’s WRC comeback in 2017, in 2019 the Estonian Ott Tänak won the rally and last time out in Sweden in 2020 it was Evans who won.

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

For this year and onwards the rally have changed its location more north to the city of Umeå to secure more snow as the old location of Torsby have lacked snow over the past. The Toyota team have run some pre-event tests on similar conditions in Finland and are now fully prepared to tackle the new stages.

Latvala admits the new car is suited for the snowy roads: “Even though luck was not on our side at Rallye Monte-Carlo, we could see the reliability and speed of the GR YARIS Rally1 and that gives us a lot of encouragement going to Sweden. I have some good memories of Rally Sweden as a driver, including the first win for our team in 2017. It has been a successful event for us in the past but everybody is going into it on a similar level in terms of experience with the new cars in these conditions. The rally will also be taking place in a totally new area around Umeå, where we should be guaranteed a good amount of snow and the profile of the stages will be different to what we were used to before.”

Latvala is happy to have Lappi back in team for Rally Sweden: “It is great to welcome Esapekka back into our line-up for his first event with us this season: Like Elfyn and Kalle, he has been strong in these conditions before and I believe all four TOYOTA GAZOO Racing drivers have the potential for a really good weekend if everything goes well for them.”

Also joining alongside the three crews in the fourth GR Yaris Rally1, running outside of the manufacturer team in with a driver development program is the Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta, he is entered for the TGR WRT Next Generation banner.

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