Friday | 13 Jan 2017

Mäkinen's Monte Minute Toyota boss explains early goals

Tommi Mäkinen has given Toyota's new WRC team the target of getting two cars to the finish of its debut event, Rallye Monte-Carlo - and doing so within 60 seconds of the winner.

Mäkinen, a four-time world champion and quadruple Rallye Monte-Carlo winner, will be in charge of Toyota's all-new squad when it makes it's eagerly anticipated WRC return next week (19 - 22 January) after a 17 year absence.

The team will field two Yaris WRC cars, built to this year's new technical regulations. At the wheel will be Toyota's long-time test driver Juho Hänninen and VW refugee Jari-Matti Latvala.

Mäkinen stressed that the team would prioritise car development and learning over outright results this year, and he wanted to collect maximum benefit from the event's wintry, mountain roads.

"Our target is to get good mileage from this rally, so I will be happy if we have both cars at the finish and arrive in the same minute as the leaders. That would be a fantastic way to continue our development, which is always an ongoing process," he said. 
"The most important thing is to go to Monte-Carlo with a relaxed and open attitude. It depends so much on the conditions there and everything can change in a split second. It’s hard for me to say at the moment where we really are in terms of performance and it’s unlikely that Monte-Carlo will give us any definite answers either, as it is such a different rally to everywhere else."

Meanwhile, Latvala declared himself ready for his Toyota debut, despite joining the team only last month in the wake of Volkswagen's WRC exit.

He said: "Two months ago, I would never have imagined that I would be starting Rallye Monte-Carlo with Toyota, so that’s really exciting. In total I’ve done 12 days of testing: four days on snow, one day on gravel, and seven days on asphalt. That’s a good amount of testing and we’ve made some useful steps in that time.

"The car feels very strong but in terms of performance it’s difficult to say, as everyone comes with a new car. In any case this year is all about development: For Monte I would like to finish the rally well, then maybe towards the middle of the season we can start to think about podiums."


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