The manufacturers’ championship leader was in the country last week but this week it’s the Yaris which is getting its first all-asphalt test of the season. Kalle Rovanperä drove on Wednesday, with Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier following towards the end of the week.
There was still snow on the ground when the Finn climbed aboard the Toyota at the start of his day, but Toyota technical director Tom Fowler said those prolonged wintry conditions hadn’t impacted on the running.
“I’ve always been confident in the Tarmac car we have,” said Fowler. “I think we’re strong on this surface. I guess the confidence level would be slightly lower than it would have been on a similar event last year, simply because we’re going to asphalt with a new tyre from Pirelli.
“On the other hand, I’m happy and confident with the work done by the engineers in adapting the car to the tyre.”
Hyundai drivers Ott Tänak, Thierry Neuville and Craig Breen will step up their preparations when they tackle Rally Sanremo in Italy on Sunday. Tänak and Neuville will pilot i20 World Rally Cars while Breen takes the wheel of an i20 R5.
As was the case before Arctic Rally Finland, the Alzenau-based squad is supplementing its permitted one day’s testing per driver with some competitive action, which doesn’t fall under the same test restrictions.
M-Sport Ford will run its Croatia test the weekend before the event, with all eyes on Adrien Fourmaux, making his top-level WRC debut in the British team’s Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.