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TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WORLD RALLY TEAM

PIAA is an official Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


2018 WRC Calendar - See www.wrc.com
1 Rallye Monte-Carlo 25 - 28 Jan 187
2 Rally Sweden 15 - 18 Feb 18
3 Rally Mexico 08 - 11 Mar 18
4 Tour de Corse 05 - 08 Apr 18
5 Rally Argentina 26 - 29 Apr 18
5. Rally Portugal 17 - 20 May 18
6. Rally Italia Sardinia 07 - 10 Jun 18
8 Rally Finland 26 - 29 Jul 18
9 Rally Deutschland 16 - 19 Aug 18
10 Rally Turkey 13 - 16 Sep 18
11 Wales Rally GB 04 - 07 Oct 18
12 Rally de España - Catalunya 25 - 28 Oct 18
13 Rally Australia 15 - 18 Nov 18

 

PRESS RELEASE:September 16, 2018

ONE-TWO FOR TOYOTA GAZOO Racing AND A HAT-TRICK FOR TÄNAK

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has finished first and second on a gruelling Rally Turkey with drivers Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala. It is the first such result for the team since its return to the FIA World Rally Championship at the start of 2017, and moves the squad to the top of the manufacturers’ standings. It is the third win in a row for Tänak and the Toyota Yaris WRC: the first time any driver or team has achieved such a streak since the latest era of World Rally Cars was introduced last season.

On the WRC calendar for the first time since 2010, Rally Turkey provided a considerable test to all the teams and crews, with entirely new stages over rough and rocky gravel roads that were extremely demanding for the cars and tyres. In a rally of attrition, where only five World Rally Cars completed the event without having to retire from at least one of the three legs, the approach of the Toyota team and its drivers to focus on reliability and avoiding mistakes paid dividends.

Tänak and Latvala occupied fifth and fourth positions at the end of Friday and through measured driving took over at the top of the leaderboard at the beginning of Saturday afternoon as their rivals hit problems. From there, the two drivers continued to avoid problems over the remaining stages, with Tänak winning by 22.3 seconds over Latvala with almost one minute and a half further back to the third-placed crew.

Esapekka Lappi was unable to take part in Sunday’s stages after his car was too heavily damaged when he went off the road on Saturday morning. This however did not prevent Toyota claiming a maximum points haul of 43 points towards the manufacturers’ championship, which it now leads by five points with three rounds remaining. Tänak, who also took three bonus points for third place on the rally-ending Power Stage, has climbed to second in the drivers’ standings, just 13 away from the lead. Latvala, fourth on the Power Stage, moves up to fifth behind Lappi.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team President)
“Following Finland and Germany, we, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT, have achieved excellent results for the third consecutive rally. I really appreciate the fans who are supporting us from all over the world. Rally Turkey was very tough, beyond our imaginations, for all the components of the car including the chassis, engine and tyres, because of its severe roads with big rocks and high temperatures. To have run through such roads and reached the finish with these great results, I appreciate the drivers, the co-drivers and all the team members. Thank you all and congratulations! During the rally, the Yaris WRCs did not run perfectly all the time. There were minor issues for every car and each crew had to drive carefully. Driving carefully back to the service park, improving the car together with engineers and mechanics during service, and going back to the stages... this is how we reached the podium. When he finished Saturday in second overall, Latvala said that on Sunday he would drive for the team and his team-mate. I am really glad to see the result of such teamwork. And I am proud of not only the winning crew, Tänak and Järveoja, but also all my team-mates who gave their full efforts to make this happen. In this team, Toyota Motor Corporation works to make cars which drivers can drive more easily. Together with our amazing team-mates we will continue making “ever-better” cars in order to share more joy in the future. Thank all the fans in advance for your continuous support of the team.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This has been another absolutely brilliant weekend for us. Thank you to Ott and to Jari-Matti: they concentrated really hard and didn’t make any mistakes. It was a new rally for everybody, with some very technical stages, and we saw that it was easy to make mistakes. It was a big challenge as well for the cars but we managed it well and this is the result. The team has done a fantastic job with the cooling package and everything else, and now our car seems to be very reliable. It is great to now be leading the manufacturers’ championship and we will keep working hard until the end of the season.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“This is a great result for the team. The main thing today was to get the one-two finish and we did it. Everything went according to plan. I tried to be clever and not do anything stupid and I had a consistent run. We are trying hard to win the manufacturers’ championship so these points were very valuable, and the remainder of the season now looks very exciting. For me, it is very nice to be on the podium again. Things have started to look better since Finland. Now let’s keep it going this way.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“This rally was so difficult. From the beginning, we knew that it will not be the fastest driver that will win this rally but that it would be the smartest. We were the most consistent and we managed to do the whole rally without any issues or having to stop on any of the stages. Obviously it has been a great team effort and they have been able to build a very strong car. The championship is now wide open so let’s keep pushing.”

FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY TURKEY
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h59m24.5s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +22.3s
3 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m46.3s
4 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m10.9s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +7m11.7s
6 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (Skoda Fabia R5) +13m40.6s
7 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +18m25.2s
8 Simone Tempestini/Sergiu Itu (Citroen C3 R5) +19m37.1s
9 Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (Skoda Fabia R5) +20m21.3s
10 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +20m51.2s
Retired Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)

What’s next?
Round 11 of the 2018 season is Rally GB on October 4-7. In dry conditions these stages can be driven at fairly high speeds, but in the Welsh autumn the pace is usually tempered by mud, which can make the surfaces treacherously slippery. Fog and even ice can add to the challenge, particularly early in the morning or late in the evening.

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: August 19, 2018

TÄNAK AND TOYOTA GAZOO Racing CELEBRATE BACK-TO-BACK WINS IN GERMANY

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a second straight victory after Ott Tänak followed his Rally Finland triumph by securing victory on Rallye Deutschland. The result is the maiden win on asphalt for the Toyota Yaris WRC. As in Finland, the team achieved a double podium result, with Esapekka Lappi finishing in third place to help Toyota climb to second in the manufacturers’ championship and close to within 13 points of the lead.

Tänak almost led the rally from start to finish, only briefly conceding the lead after SS2. He carried an advantage of 43.7 seconds into the final day, which he managed carefully through the two runs over the 29-kilometre Grafschaft vineyard test. He sealed the win on the Bosenberg Power Stage, where he came within 0.1s of repeating his fastest time in Finland. It was Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja’s third win since joining Toyota this year, the pair’s second on Rallye Deutschland in as many years, and one that brings Tänak closer to the two drivers ahead of him in the championship.

Lappi started the day occupying fifth position, and moved up into third with a clean run through the first stage of the day. He was third fastest on the Power Stage as he and co-driver Janne Ferm claimed their second podium in the space of three events and their first on asphalt in the WRC. It also strengthens Lappi’s fine fourth place in the drivers’ standings in his first full season at this level.

Jari-Matti Latvala had to retire from the rally on the first stage of the day due to a hydraulic pump failure that caused his car to lose drive. He had begun the day in third overall and only 0.8s away from second place after a strong performance on Saturday when he won two stages.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This is another great moment for our team. Ott has once again been outstanding all weekend. The only disappointment was what happened to Jari-Matti this morning. I am very sorry for him as we were confident he could perform well on today’s stages. Bad luck seems to be following him but we try to support him as best as we can. Esapekka did a brilliant clean drive with no mistakes, which are very easy to make on this rally. Everybody has worked very hard to achieve this great result on asphalt and everyone is motivated to give their maximum effort for the rest of the year.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“On the road section to the first stage I stopped and when I selected first gear it didn’t take the gear. The hydraulic pump stopped, and although I could switch to the manual gear lever, there was a lot of stress for the gearbox and eventually we lost drive completely. We have had a lot of bad luck this year, but I had a great feeling this weekend. The car’s performance was very good, I was really enjoying the fight and that’s the most important thing.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“This was definitely the hardest victory I have ever had. For the majority of the weekend it was a really close fight and I had to push so hard. On Friday in the vineyards I felt very comfortable with the car. On Saturday morning I did not feel so confident, but the team really improved the car in service. Today I just needed to keep it clean. I am really happy for the whole team: we were really strong this weekend. We are moving in the right direction in the championship but I am still taking it event-by-event: Now my focus is on Turkey and trying to be as well prepared as possible.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“It has been a difficult weekend but it was also a clean one with no issues and that has brought us this podium. There was a lot of drama for the others yesterday and this morning as well. That is rallying and we have been in that position before. I think we made some good progress during the weekend. I think I still need some more mileage to understand what the limits are when these roads are dirty. There is not much room for mistakes and I really didn’t want to make one this time.”

FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h03m36.9s
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +39.2s
3 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m00.9s
4 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m34.5s
5 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m02.9s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m13.8s
7 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +2m39.1s
8 Marijan Griebel/Alexander Rath (Citroen DS3 WRC) +10m41.2s
9 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +13m12.8s
10 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5) +13m16.6s
Retired Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttilla (Toyota Yaris WRC)

What’s next?

Rally Turkey (September 13-16) returns to the WRC for the first time since 2010 in a new location around Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast. A combination of smooth fast gravel roads and more demanding rocky mountain passes is expected, along with warm temperatures.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: July 29, 2018

TÄNAK TAKES A HOME TRIUMPH FOR THE TOYOTA YARIS WRC

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating victory on home soil on Rally Finland after Ott Tänak sealed a hugely impressive win by setting the fastest time on the Power Stage. Jari-Matti Latvala clinched third place to give the team a fantastic double podium.

Podium Ceremony

Tänak carried an advantage of 39 seconds into the final day of the rally, which consisted of two runs over the Laukaa and Ruuhimäki stages. After a careful approach to the first three stages, Tänak then claimed his 12th stage win of the weekend on the Power Stage (gaining five bonus points) to finish up 32.7s clear overall. He and co-driver Martin Järveoja celebrated at the finish on the top of their car together with Team Chairman Akio Toyoda and Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen.

Latvala won the second and third stages of the day, helping to bring Toyota’s total of fastest times for the event up to 18 out of 23 stages. It also brought him closer to the driver in second place, finishing up only 2.8s behind as he scored a podium finish at his home event. Esapekka Lappi charged up to fourth place with a superb performance on Saturday, but retired when he crashed on the first stage of Sunday morning.

The result moves the TOYOTA GAZOO World Rally Team to within one point of second place in the manufacturers’ standings, and closes the gap to the top to 27 points. In the drivers’ standings, Tänak remains third but has closed up to the top two drivers.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)
“There is no happier feeling than to take victory in our home rally. I really appreciate all of our team members for bringing this excitement to us. I can sense that all our drivers seem to really enjoy driving on their home roads, even from my viewpoint beside the stages. The roads of Finland have helped us to make the Yaris WRC better for our drivers and help them really enjoy the driving. I really appreciate that I could enjoy this happiness in person and see the view from the top of the podium. Thanks to everyone in our team. As you know Finland is our TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team's home. However, it’s the first time for me visiting here since we came back to the WRC. I never saw so many people supporting TOYOTA GAZOO Racing with their passion and enthusiasm. This helped give me the actual feeling that this place is our homeland. The special stages are also full of TGR’s flags and the fans waving the national flags of Finland and Estonia with the chants of “I love TOYOTA! I love Yaris”. The huge “Welcome to my home roads” billboards are hanging up in the roads. The burger shop staff are wearing T-shirts with the TGR logos. I have got to see how the hometown people welcomed us in our second year after 17 years’ break from WRC. And I have got to see how wonderful it is to take the victory in our hometown rally. We also received numerous greetings and cheering from all over the world. I’d like to express our appreciation to all of the fans supporting TGR. We still have a long way to go in this season. I am looking forward to many more sights of countless Estonian, Finnish and Japanese national flags being flown. Our team will continue making our every effort to achieve this goal. We expect your consistent support. For now, we don’t have a WRC event in Japan. When I looked up to the sky from the podium, I imagined another view of the three national flags mentioned above flying in our other home Japan. I strongly hope again that we could see this day.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“What a weekend, and what an end to the rally. It was an absolutely spectacular moment, especially with Ott managing to win the last stage. It has been an incredible drive from him. Jari-Matti’s battle for second was fantastic too, going right down to the last stage. He had to settle for third in the end but I am generally very happy with the result here on our home event.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“I gave everything today to try and get second place. It was a great fight. It really helps with the confidence when you fight as hard as this and you can keep everything together and not make mistakes. To be back on the podium after quite a long time feels really good, and especially to do it here in Finland. Together with the victory for Ott, this was a really important result for the team.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It has been a perfect weekend. Everything worked as we wanted. On Friday we had a really big job with our road position, and after that we could just increase our advantage. We had the perfect preparation and full support from the team. If you work together as one then these kind of results are achievable. To win in Finland is definitely special. It’s kind of a home rally for me and it’s the home rally for the team. To win in front of all this support is incredible.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Unfortunately my rally ended pretty soon after we started this morning. The car felt really good, it was just my mistake. I went a little bit too wide, dropped a tyre into the ditch and hit a tree stump, which sent us spinning. The start of this rally was already tough for us, and although yesterday went much better, it has been a disappointing weekend for me. However, congratulations to the team, to Ott and to Jari-Matti for their results.”

FINAL RESULT, RALLY FINLAND
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h35m18.1s
2 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +32.7s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +35.5s
4 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m35.6s
5 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m15.0s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m19.2s
7 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m29.5s
8 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +3m08.4s
9 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m51.8s
10 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8m37.4s
Retired Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)
What’s next?
Round nine of the 2018 season will be Rallye Deutschland, on August 16-19. Three rallies in one on German asphalt: twisting roads through Mosel vineyards, the notoriously tough Baumholder military area and fast country lanes of Saarland. The differing characteristics of these roads and the often-changeable weather conditions can make car set-up and tyre choice difficult.

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: June 10, 2018

APPI AND TOYOTA GAZOO Racing ON THE PODIUM IN SARDINIA

Esapekka Lappi has finished in a fine third place on Rally Italia Sardegna to score his first podium of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship season: a result that moves the Toyota Yaris WRC driver up to fourth in the drivers’ championship standings.

Lappi began the final day of the rally with a margin of just more than a minute over the fourth-placed driver. This allowed him to take a cautious approach to the final four stages, securing the second podium finish of his WRC career by 58.9 seconds and achieving his stated pre-event target of improving upon the fourth place he managed on the same event in 2017.

His TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team colleagues Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tänak also scored points in seventh and ninth overall respectively, having restarted the event under Rally 2 rules. Latvala had been battling with Lappi for third position throughout Saturday until a problem forced him to stop on the road section back to evening service. Tänak was also in the top three when he retired on Friday’s last stage with damage after a heavy landing but fought his way back into the top 10 and remains third in the drivers’ standings.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Very well done to Esapekka on his podium finish. He lost a bit of time on the first day but after that he was doing really well, concentrating well and making no mistakes. This podium is the well-deserved result. Of course, we cannot be completely satisfied with our weekend, because it would have been good to see Jari-Matti and Ott fighting for the podium places until the end as well. It is really unfortunate what happened to both of them, but this is rallying, so it can happen, especially on such a tough event. It was much tougher than we thought it would be and a lot of cars retired and had problems. Everybody was fighting flat-out despite the rough road conditions. The cars are strong, but you need a bit of luck too.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“It was good to be able to get back out on the stages today after the frustration of yesterday. The feeling in the car was good and the times were pretty good, even though we were saving the tyres. Unfortunately, on the Power Stage I stalled the engine in one corner: I went too quick into a left-hander and the ruts were quite deep. I really wanted a podium here but I will try to have a positive break and be ready to fight in Finland.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It was a tough weekend with many lessons learned. We still need to understand what happened and why, and we need to avoid the same things happening in the future. Generally, the feeling is good, we are really fast, now we just need a bit of consistency. I know we can do it. As a team we are still young but we are learning quickly. I have good faith in the team and I’m sure we can put these moments behind us and be stronger in the future.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Today was just about bringing the car to the finish and to the podium. This is a really important result, both for my confidence but also for the team as well. I think we deserved a podium. We had opportunities to do it earlier in the season but I made some mistakes. Both Portugal and Sardinia have been quite clean rallies for me with a consistent performance, so I hope I can take this forward to Finland.”

PROVISONAL FINAL RESULT, RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA

1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3h29m18.7s
2 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +0.7s
3 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m56.3s
4 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m55.2s
5 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +3m10.9s
6 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +4m31.7s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +11m22.1s
8 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +13m14.6s
9 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +13m18.2s
10 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +15m30.4s
(Results as of 20:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What’s next?
After the WRC’s summer break, round eight of the 2018 season will be Rally Finland on July 26-29. The event is the fastest rally on the calendar, run over smooth gravel roads containing many jumps. It is also a home event for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, which is based close to the service park in Jyväskylä and celebrated victory in 2017 with Esapekka Lappi.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: May 20, 2018

TOYOTA FINISHES STRONGLY IN PORTUGAL

Toyota Yaris WRC driver Esapekka Lappi finished in fifth position on Rally Portugal following a strong performance on the final day that featured two stage wins, including on the Power Stage. Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala also enjoyed a positive conclusion to the event, taking his third stage win of the weekend and bringing the team’s total for the rally to six.

The last day in Portugal was made up of five short stages in the Fafe region, and Lappi made a flying start with a stage win on the opening test to move up from fifth to fourth overall. He traded the position with Dani Sordo over the next two stages, but after the rally he was given a 10-second time penalty for an infringement on Friday evening’s street stage, which dropped him back to fifth. He did however take victory on the rally-ending Power Stage, claiming five bonus points to move up to fifth in the drivers’ championship.

On the middle stage of the day, Luilhas, Toyota claimed a one-two in the stage results, with Latvala posting the quickest time and Lappi in second. Latvala had been forced to retire on a tough Friday for the team (when Ott Tänak’s rally also came to an early end) but was able to return under Rally 2 rules on Saturday and show his strong pace in the Yaris WRC over the final two days.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It is good to have finished Rally Portugal on a positive note. It was obviously a disappointing start on Friday for everybody, but it was good to then see Jari-Matti back in action and for him to get two good clean days behind the wheel. Esapekka did very well to challenge for the podium, and he had a great fight against Teemu Suninen: it was nice to see these two young Finns pushing each other so hard. Esapekka didn’t win the battle on this occasion, but he still managed to get five points from the Power Stage, which was really nice to see and a good reward for his effort over the past two days. Overall, we will try to learn from this weekend and be stronger next time.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“Today was another good day, with another stage win. Of course, I tried to go for points on the Power Stage and give everything I could. It was a very good run; I don’t think I could have driven much better, but there was a very big cleaning effect on the Fafe stage today and I was the first World Rally Car on the road. I am happy though because the confidence is improving a lot. We had the problem on Friday but at least I could then drive two clean days without any mistakes. We could also learn something on today’s stages, which were more technical than before, about the setup that we need for Sardinia. I feel very positive going there.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Today we just continued like we ended yesterday: flat out all the time. In the end, we just couldn’t catch Suninen. It was a tough, tough fight. He did a good job and deserved the podium. However, I have to be pleased to take five points from the Power Stage as well. I have now won half of the Power Stages this year, and this is important, because I now have 15 points just from these three stages alone. I’m pretty satisfied with the weekend: we didn’t make any mistakes, and that is what we were looking for.”

FINAL RESULT, RALLY PORTUGAL
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3h49m46.6s
2 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +40.0s
3 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +47.3s
4 Dani Sordo/Carlos Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m00.9s
5 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m04.7s
6 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +3m33.5s
7 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +5m23.0s
8 Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +14m10.8s
9 Lukasz Pieniazek/Przemyslaw Mazur (Skoda Fabia R5) +16m17.3s
10 Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau (Citroen C3 R5) +16m34.3s
24 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +48m50.3s
Retired after day 2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC)
What’s next?
Next on the FIA World Rally Championship is another event on soft and sandy gravel in the south of Europe: Rally Italia Sardegna (June 7-10). Based in Alghero in the north west of the island of Sardinia, the Italian round of the series features fast and narrow stages. Exposed rocks, as well as trees at the side of the road, can catch out the unwary, while temperatures can often be high.

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: April 20, 2018

TOYOTA TRAVELS BACK ONTO GRAVEL FOR RALLY ARGENTINA

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team returns to Latin American gravel for round five of the season, Rally Argentina, on April 26-29. After a fine second place finish on the asphalt of Corsica last time, the team will once again hope to demonstrate its progress with the Toyota Yaris WRC, driven by Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi.

Yaris WRC

Rally Argentina provides a diverse gravel test, with everything from sandy valley roads to rocky mountain tracks. The softer stages can be prone to heavy rutting as more cars pass over them, while fog and even ice can sometimes be found in the mountain sections.

The event is based in the lakeside resort of Villa Carlos Paz, around a 30-minute drive from the city of Cordoba, and where the rally will begin with a super special stage on Thursday night. Friday will consist of two loops of three stages in the Calamuchita Valley, punctuated by a super special in a theme park in Villa Carlos Paz just prior to mid-day service. That will be run again on Saturday between two loops of three stages in the Punilla Valley. That rally then ends with three stages on Sunday in the Traslasierra mountains, including two passes of the famous El Condor, the latter as the Power Stage.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
"I am sure we will go better in Argentina this year than we did last year, as we learned a lot from there last year and of course over the whole course of the year since then. Our car is improving all the time, and it's always easier when you go to a rally for the second time. However, it's also true that our rivals are stronger than ever, so I think everyone will start the rally on a very equal footing, which should make it a nice battle. We have been testing in Sardinia, as those are the closest conditions you can find in Europe to Argentina: I think it's quite representative. In Argentina you have many different types of road surface – some soft, some hard, some with rocks, some quite clean – and adapting to them all is probably the biggest challenge. Hopefully, with the latest improvements we have brought to the car, it can be strong under all those different circumstances and on different roads: this is our aim. The drivers seem to be happy, and I remember from when I was driving that Argentina was one of my favourite rallies. It's very difficult, and a huge challenge, but also a lot of fun to drive."

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
"Argentina is a place where I have had some very enjoyable moments in the past, including my win there in 2014. It is a really challenging event and that makes it very satisfying when things are going well. There is a nice mixture of different stages over the weekend, from the fast and sandy roads in the valley on Friday to the rougher mountain stages on Sunday, including the famous El Condor, which is the Power Stage again this year. It is always a very spectacular stage with all of the fans up on the hillsides cheering us on. Argentina is a very demanding rally for the cars, and we learned a lot there as a team last year. Together, we are working hard to constantly improve the car, and hopefully we can show some good progress. It would be good to get some more points on the board."

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: March 11, 2018

RALLY MEXICO: A CLEAN SWEEP ON THE FINAL DAY FOR THE YARIS WRC


A tough Rally Mexico for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team ended on a high with the team winning all three of the stages on the final day. Jari-Matti Latvala took the first fastest time as he secured eighth overall, before Ott Tänak scored two more stage wins, including on the rally-ending Power Stage to take home five bonus points.

Car 8(Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja)

Latvala had to restart under Rally 2 rules on Saturday after a technical issue on Friday evening, but despite a time penalty, he managed to get back into the points positions and finish eighth overall. He won the day’s first stage, Alfaro, by 9.7 seconds. He was then second on both runs over Las Minas, scoring four bonus points on the Power Stage. On his first time competing in Mexico, Esapekka Lappi was forced to retire on Friday after going off the road, but restarted and gained valuable experience on his way to 11th overall.

Tänak restarted this morning with the aim of scoring points in the Power Stage, after a mechanical fault had forced him out of the fight for the rally win. Having already won the first pass of Las Minas, he used maximum effort to get as good a result as possible from the Power Stage. He went quickest to claim five bonus points, leading Latvala by 1.3 seconds in a one-two for the Toyota Yaris WRC.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Today has been a positive way to end a difficult weekend. To win all three stages was a big bonus for us and we were happy that it worked out on the Power Stage for Ott to score some important points. It was good to see that his car was performing as it should: the team did a good job to fix the problem yesterday. I was also pleased to see Jari-Matti also do some good times today and that he was enjoying the driving. It was obviously disappointing to have the technical issues earlier in the weekend but to score good points today has made everyone happy and we are looking forward to the next event.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“I had a fantastic feeling this morning and the car felt very good. We had a really big push and won the first stage. Then the second stage was also really good, even though we had to save the tyres a bit. In the Power Stage I gave it everything and I’m really happy to finish second fastest with my road position. It has been a difficult weekend but to retire from one day and still come back and score eight points is good. Overall I know that the car performance is there, and now I am starting to find the performance in myself.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“Today we were putting everything on the Power Stage. We had nothing to lose and just wanted to get these five points. The car was performing really well and I felt really comfortable in the car so I could give an extra push. Of course I’m not happy with the overall result as we were in contention for the win, but we still have a long season ahead of us and the performance side has been good. It was my first time on gravel in the car, we learned a lot and we can see many places where we can improve.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Today we were concentrating on the Power Stage, so in the first two stages we just wanted to get through them, check the pace-notes and save the tyres. It has been a tough weekend for us. The highlight has actually been the spectator stages. In our pre-event test we did some work on a go-kart track and we managed to find some new things which seem to have worked, because last evening I almost did the fastest time on the street stage. Previously we had been losing a lot of time in those. We also gained a lot of experience and data, which we can use to improve next year.”

PROVISIONAL FINAL RESULT, RALLY MEXICO
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3h54m08.0s
2 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m03.6s
3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +1m19.2s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m38.4s
5 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroen C3 WRC) +2m24.6s
6 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +9m03.0s
7 Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +10m24.7s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +15m37.1s
9 Gus Greensmith/Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +17m09.3s
10 Pedro Heller/Pablo Olmos (Ford Fiesta R5) +24m18.1s
11 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +30m57.8s
14 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1h02m42.8s
(Results as of 18:00 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
Round four is the Tour de Corse on April 5-8. The classic event on the French island of Corsica is famous for its narrow and twisty asphalt stages, which give it the nickname ‘The Rally of 10,000 Corners’. Mountainous stages lined by rock faces on one side and steep drops on the other, numerous surface changes and long stages provide a major test for the drivers.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 18th February 2018

THE YARIS WRC TEAMFINISHES WITH A FLOURISH IN SWEDEN

A challenging Rally Sweden ended on a high note for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team with three stage wins out of three on the final day. This included victory in the Power Stage for Esapekka Lappi, who also gained two places in the overall classification to finish fourth.

Car 9(Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm)

An unfavourable position in the running order had prevented the team from showing the true performance of the Toyota Yaris WRC for the entire duration of the rally, but a total of eight stage wins showed the potential of the package. In his second rally with the team, Ott Tänak achieved six of these fastest times, including on the first stage of the final day. There, Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala gave Toyota its second one-two-three stage result of the rally, with Lappi gaining a place overall to move up to fifth. He then won the second pass of the Likenäs stage before triumphing in the Torsby Power Stage, enough to gain fourth by 8.6 seconds. Latvala completed the rally in seventh place with Tänak ninth. The Estonian driver also scored the final Power Stage point in fifth.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Today we were able to show some good performance by winning all three stages. Generally the performance of the car and the drivers has been good here but the conditions were sometimes a bit unequal. Hopefully something can be done so the conditions are fairer for all the drivers in future. Esapekka was very quick today to gain two positions and win the Power Stage. It has been a good rally for him and without one little mistake he could have been fighting for the highest position on the podium. We must not forget it was his first time on snow in a WRC car and next year I’m sure he will be even stronger.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“It has been a very hard weekend for me. We just lost so much time on the first day with our high starting position in the fresh snow and the heavy ruts. We changed the transmission for the final day and this improved the feeling compared to yesterday. The team did a very good job and the car was handling very well. It is both quick and reliable and that is important.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“This has been a tough weekend. On Friday we faced some bad conditions and couldn’t have done much more. On Saturday our road position was slightly better, the pace was better as a result and we could win quite a few stages. Then today when the conditions were in our favour we could do some more good times. This was my first rally in the Toyota Yaris WRC with a gravel-style setup and we have learned a lot of things.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“To get the Power Stage win and gain two places today has been very good. I’m really happy for the team as well: at least we got some kind of good result from this weekend. It means I’m not so disappointed anymore about what happened to me on Friday. It’s so easy to make a mistake here. Overall the whole rally was quite strong. I wasn’t expecting this kind of speed from my side, so I’m really looking forward to coming back here next year.”

FINAL RESULT, RALLY SWEDEN
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h52.13.1s
2 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +19.8s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +28.3s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +45.8s
5 Hayden Paddon/Sebastian Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +54.4s
6 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +1m15.3s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m04.9s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m52.2s
9 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m44.4s
10 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +8m45.4s

What's next?
Rally Mexico (March 8-11) is the first gravel event of the season, known in particular for ambient temperatures in the region of 30°C and a route that peaks at 2,737m above sea level, starving engines of air and cutting power by as much as 20 per cent.

 

PRESS RELEASE: 28 January 2018

DOUBLE PODIUM FOR THE TOYOTA YARIS WRC IN MONTE CARLO

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has begun the 2018 season with a superb team performance on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Two of the Toyota Yaris WRCs finished the famous event on the podium, with Ott Tänak second and Jari-Matti Latvala third.

Tänak impressed throughout his debut rally with TOYOTA, quickly adapting to the Yaris WRC to set four fastest times as he challenged for the victory in typically demanding conditions. He took a careful approach through the four stages that made up the final day as he secured second overall: a fantastic start to his time with the team. Latvala also played it safe to complete a double podium for the squad. Esapekka Lappi ended up seventh (less than 15 seconds away from fourth) after a small mistake on the final stage, but can still look back at a strong performance in his first Rallye Monte-Carlo driving a World Rally Car.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)
“Having developed the Yaris WRC on different roads all over the world last year, all of us at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team made it even better during the short off-season and put an improved Yaris on the start ramp for Rallye Monte-Carlo. Although I couldn’t be there, my heart was with the team and I saw many messages on our social networks from fans not only in Japan but all over the world. I would also like to thank Tommi and the other team members, as well as our six drivers and co-drivers who finished the rally reliably despite such challenging asphalt conditions with rain, snow, ice and mud. Toyota is a big family united by the same goal of making ever-better cars. Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström, who were competing in the number 11 Yaris WRC last year, continue in vital roles: Juho as part of the safety crew and Kaj as sporting director. As the new season goes on we will face even bigger challenges: extreme cold, high altitude, intense heat and increasingly stronger rivals. But together with our colleagues and fans, we are focussed on making an ever-better Yaris thanks to the valuable lessons learned from the world’s most demanding stages. Thank you for your continuing support: we appreciate it so much.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This has been a really brilliant way to start the season. I believe this is the strongest our team has been since we started. I’m very happy to see the effort put in by the whole team. I am also very impressed by the way that Ott has fitted into the team so quickly, how professional he is and how soon he has learned everything. It would be great to continue like this. We are looking forward to Sweden.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“Rallye Monte-Carlo is never easy. We had difficult conditions once again today, particularly with the ice on the Col du Turini that came since the recce. I’m really relieved to get to the finish and to be on the podium. The team has done an excellent job and the car is performing really well so I’m excited for the season ahead. It’s going to be about staying cool and to think about the championship and about the points. This has been a good start.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It’s really nice to start the season like this. It looks like I have joined a very strong team! The car has been amazing and I’ve felt really comfortable in it since the start of the rally. It was an extremely tough rally with such difficult conditions, but we managed to get through without any serious problems. We were expecting easier conditions today, but it was still really icy. We were able to take it steady because we were in a strong position. I’m now really looking forward to the coming rallies.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“Today started really well with some good speed and the plan was to keep up the rhythm, including on the Power Stage. Unfortunately, I went wide on one corner and then I couldn’t get reverse, so we lost a lot of time and three positions. At the moment I am quite disappointed but at least I completed every kilometre, gaining experience and learning many things, so there are also a lot of positives. It has been a good rally for the team and Sweden should suit me better.”

FINAL RESULT, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 4h18m55.5s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +58.3s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m52.0s

4 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +4m43.1s
5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m53.8s
6 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m54.8s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4m57.5s
8 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7m39.5s
9 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +9m06.7s
10 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +16m43.0s
What's next?
Round two of the FIA World Rally Championship is the only event held exclusively on snow and ice: Rally Sweden (February 15-18). This was the scene of the maiden victory for the Toyota Yaris WRC in 2017. Metal studs inserted into the tyres punch through the ice to find grip, while drivers use the snow banks to stay on the road by ‘leaning’ through the corners.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 19 January, 2018

YARIS WRC’S SECOND SEASON BEGINS WITH MIGHTY MONTE CHALLENGE

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will embark on its second season in the FIA World Rally Championship season at Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 25-28), with a strong driver line-up and an improved Toyota Yaris WRC. Ott Tänak, a two-time winner last year, will make his TOYOTA GAZOO Racing debut alongside Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi, who drove the Yaris WRC to victories during its development season in 2017. All three aim to follow in the footsteps of their Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen, a four-time winner of both the WRC title and of Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest rally in the world and also one of the most famous. It is known for its changeable weather conditions, which can vary from dry asphalt to snow and ice, sometimes in the same stage. This means tyre choices can make a big difference, as can the ice-note crews who provide the teams with last-minute information on the stage conditions.

The rally begins in the glamorous surrounds of Casino Square in Monte Carlo prior to the opening two stages held in the dark on Thursday night: a demanding start to the new season. Friday is the longest day of the rally with more than 150 kilometres of action, spread over three stages that are all run twice either side of service in Gap. After five more stages on Saturday, the rally returns to Monaco before four final tests on Sunday, including two passes of the iconic Col de Turini.

Quotes:

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“This time last year, we didn’t really know where we were as we prepared for the debut of the Toyota Yaris WRC. In the coming season, I believe that we can be a lot more consistent, which is really what we need in order to fight for the championship titles. That is our aim after our learning season last year. The break since Rally Australia finished has not been very long but we have been very busy trying to make our car even better. Rallye Monte-Carlo is always a tough event to start the season with. Although I won it four times during my career as a driver, I didn’t prepare for it very well back then: I would not even think about rallying, and just go skiing instead! Our three drivers have been doing much better preparation, with a lot of testing, and we hope for a good result.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“We learned a lot last year during our first season together. We discovered where we needed to improve, and we are now ready for the second year and I think we should be very competitive. We have a very good driver line-up: all of us managed to win in 2017 and when everybody is aiming for victories it is usually good for the team. We already achieved a good result on Rallye Monte-Carlo on the debut for the Yaris WRC last year, finishing in second place, which equalled my best result there. Then, it was important to have a clean rally and the same will be true this year, but we also want to have good speed.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“There is a lot of excitement ahead of my first rally for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. The team did a really good job last year: even though it was their first season they were already very competitive. I could see how much potential there is and I wanted to make sure I was part of this team in the coming years. Our target is the same: to win the championship. I am just getting used to the team but already I feel very welcome and the preparation has been going really well. In Monte Carlo we will see how we are compared to the competition. For sure, it is one of the most challenging events on the calendar. You don’t know what to expect: whether it will be snow or ice, wet or dry.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“This will be my first full season in a World Rally Car and the approach needs to be a bit different to before: I need to be a bit more consistent. I still need to gain some more experience: during the first part of the season there are rallies I do not know so well, and Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of those. It is an event where experience can really help, so my aim has to be to do all the stages. Later in the season there are the rallies where I have confidence and where I should be most competitive. The preparation is good: we have just been trying to improve the car and ourselves.”