Wed 02 Feb 2022

Latvala content to follow 2021 template in title defence

Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala is a firm advocate of the policy of not trying to fix something that’s not broken.

It’s for that reason that there won’t be any changes in the way he works as the Jyväskylä-based team defends its FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers’ crown.

Defence of the drivers’ title that Sébastien Ogier won alongside it last year is more complicated, given the Frenchman’s decision to drive a part-programme of events through 2022.

“We don’t need to make any changes,” Latvala told WRC.com. “Everything worked well, very well, last year and this is why we will keep it the same for this season.

“The feeling in the team is very nice – we are all working together. It’s good to see this from the crews, they are all sitting together and sharing everything. Last season we had good success and like you can imagine this is what we want from this year as well.

“Everybody in the team knows what they are doing. Everything works.”

Toyota started the inaugural hybrid-powered season with second place at last month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, courtesy of Ogier and its new GR Yaris Rally1.

The Japanese marque starts this season’s second round in Sweden (24 - 27 February) three points behind M-Sport Ford in the makes’ race after Kalle Rovanperä added a fourth place in the French Alps.

Latvala admitted his out-of-the-blocks success as team principal had come as a source of great personal pride.

“For me it was something very special,” he said. “I was given this job and, like you know, it wasn’t so easy for me to stop the driving, but the results last year were really great.”

While management means Latvala has stopped competing at the sport’s highest level, he did manage to drive last month’s Arctic Rally in a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD. He retired on the second day of the Lapland event with a conrod-related issue.

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