Mon 24 Oct 2022

Latvala lauds Toyota Gazoo Racing team

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has praised his squad’s desire to win after it claimed its third WRC manufacturers’ title at RallyRACC - Rally de España.

This past two seasons have been something of a dream for Latvala. With 209 WRC starts to his name, the Finn still holds the record as the most experienced top-level driver of all time. 

But his career path changed directions at the beginning 2021 when he stepped out of the hot seat to begin a new role as Toyota Gazoo Racing’s team principal. So far, that switch couldn’t have gone any better.

Since Latvala took up the reins, Toyota has lifted every title possible. Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä have steered Yaris cars to drivers’ championship glory in 2021 and 2022 while Ogier’s victory in Spain last weekend helped confirm back-to-back manufacturers’ championship triumphs for the Japanese marque.

Speaking at the end of the WRC’s penultimate round, Latvala hailed the passion of every member of his team as the driving factor behind its success.

“I am really proud of this team and what we have achieved this season,” he said. 

“As Kalle said at the end of the final stage, we have such a talented group of people. That’s the first thing. Secondly, the people have the passion and the desire to win. Finally and most importantly, everybody is working together. 

“When you have all these ingredients, the results will follow. Séb showed this weekend why he has won so many championships himself: He has this little bit extra that champions have and which puts them a level above the rest. Kalle also did a very mature drive to give us a double podium” he added.

Latvala also admitted it was a relief to have the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships all in the bag before the final round in Japan next month. 

The 10 - 13 November fixture marks the WRC’s return to Toyota’s home for the first time since 2010, with Yaris hotshot Takamoto Katsuta also hailing from the country. 

“It’s great to have secured this third title here in Spain,” Latvala continued. “Now we can go to our home rally in Japan a bit more relaxed and hopefully have even more to celebrate there.”

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