Wed 19 Apr 2023

Latvala backs Toyota trio for Croatian success

Toyota Gazoo Racing starts this week’s Croatia Rally chasing a Zagreb hat-trick and team principal Jari-Matti Latvala feels they’re in a strong position to deliver.

WRC series leader Sébastien Ogier and defending champion Kalle Rovanperä are former winners of the all-asphalt event and Latvala feels both - along with team-mate Elfyn Evans - are in good shape to maintain the Yaris’ unbeaten run in Croatia.

Latvala said: “As championship leader, Séb will be first on the road and this is a good starting point. Kalle had one of his best performances last year in Croatia, showing how good he is when the conditions get difficult.”

Rovanperä won a final-stage thriller in Zagreb 12 months ago, delivering one of the performances of the season to edge then Hyundai driver Ott Tänak. Ogier skipped last year’s event, but returns to help further asphalt understanding and development of the car.

Welshman Evans is well known for his speed on asphalt - especially in changeable conditions - and narrowly missed out on a Croatia win two years ago.

Latvala added: “Elfyn can also be strong whenever grip levels are changing a lot.

“We know that the Croatia Rally can be a very challenging event. Last year the conditions were extremely difficult, and even in the dry there is still a lot of dirt brought onto the road. It has been a good rally for us on our previous two visits and, together with our drivers, we will try our best to make it another successful weekend.”

With Ogier heading the drivers’ championship, Toyota is also out front in the manufacturers’ race after the Frenchman’s two wins from three starts.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM