Mon 27 Mar 2023

Latvala praises Toyota´s gravel development

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has praised the development work completed by his team ahead of this month’s Guanajuato Rally México.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has praised the development work completed by his team ahead of this month’s Guanajuato Rally México.

Hot gravel rallies had been the Achilles heel of last year’s FIA World Rally Championship title-winning GR Yaris Rally1. The car failed to make the podium of both Rally Italia Sardegna and EKO Acropolis Rally Greece last season, raising concerns for Toyota on the series’ return to Guanajuato for round three this year.

Those fears were groundless. Significant work, including a post-season rough gravel test in Spain last year helped deliver the changes required for Sébastien Ogier to land a record-breaking seventh win in México.

Latvala was honest in his reflection on the rally. He said: “Our development engineers have done an amazing job because we had our doubts coming into this event.

“We didn’t have the performance last year in Greece and Sardinia. It was difficult also to have a car for the boys so that they can fight for the victory. We have made the right steps in the right direction to get these results.

It’s fantastic to win and the third place for Elfyn [Evans] is really good icing on the cake as well. Also, Kalle [Rovanperä] finishing fourth is good for his championship.”

Series leader going into round three, Rovanperä slipped to third in the title race, four points behind his table-topping team-mate Ogier. Toyota extended its advantage in the manufacturers’ championship from 14 to 27 points over Hyundai Motorsport.

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