Thu 04 May 2023

Latvala: 2023 title race will be close

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala says the race for this year’s FIA World Rally Championship could be the closest in more than two decades.

The former WRC star driver, one of the service park’s acknowledged statisticians and historians, expects the extraordinary fight at the top of the table to continue throughout this season.

Four rounds in and the top five drivers in the championship are split by just 11 points, with Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier tied at the top.

“I did the maths,” said Latvala, “back in 2001, it was close with five drivers ending the championship inside eight points – so more than 20 years [since this happened last time].

“I think everything is going to be closer than it was last year. Last year, we were strong with a reliable car and early on Kalle [Rovanperä] did an amazing performance and ran away.

Trailer: Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2023

“Towards the end of last season, we could see the competition coming closer and this year the playing field is actually really close. The competition is getting tougher and tougher. The key now is to be as consistent as we can be – that’s the way to win events.”

Briton Richard Burns won a thrilling four-way 2001 battle on the final round, edging Colin McRae, Tommi Mäkinen and Carlos Sainz.

“It’s going to be close this year,” said Latvala, “like it was 20 years ago. It’s going to be interesting.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM