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Tue 09 May 2023

Latvala: Next three rallies 'very important' for Toyota

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has identified the next three rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship as being “very, very important” in his team’s bid for a third straight manufacturers’ crown.

The GR Yaris Rally1 has undergone significant evolution on gravel since last season and the team’s double podium at March’s Guanajuato Rally Mexico demonstrated the progress made by the Jyväskylä-based squad.

Before the summer’s speed events, come this week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (11 - 14 May) before Sardinia and the Safari in quick succession.

“The spring gravel events are very, very important, these next three events in a row,” said Latvala. “These events are the ones where the reliability really counts. Estonia, Finland which follow, it’s more about the performance and the speed.

“We’ve been very happy with the reliability of the cars, so that’s a good, good thing. In Mexico we managed to improve our car on the rough gravel. So that also brings us the confidence going towards Portugal.

“I’m feeling confident going to Portugal – it’s a rally where you can attack, but you always have to take care with the tyre wear and avoid hitting rocks, especially on the second pass.”

As it did in Mexico this year, Toyota landed three of the top four places in Portugal last year.

Latvala added: “It’s always been a good event for all of out drivers, Elfyn [Evans] and Kalle [Rovanperä] have both won there and Takamoto [Katsuta] has also been strong there.”

Route: Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2023