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Mon 19 Feb 2024

Latvala: Super Sunday benefitted us

Jari-Matti Latvala acknowledged that his team was a key beneficiary of Super Sunday on Rally Sweden, as Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT left Umeå tied on points in the FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ standings with Hyundai Motorsport.

For the first time since 2018, the Japanese marque has not recorded a victory from the opening two rounds. In Sweden this past weekend, the team was left with only Elfyn Evans fighting for a podium spot after both world champion Kalle Rovanperä and Takamoto Katsuta crashed out.

Despite that, Toyota finds itself on identical points to Hyundai, thanks in a large part to Super Sunday with Rovanperä and Katsuta collecting 14 points between them to go with third-placed Evans’ 24. After both being forced to restart, the previous points system would have realistically limited them to chasing points on the Wolf Power Stage, but on Super Sunday, up to seven additional points, alongside those on offer on the Wolf Power Stage, provided extra motivation.

“It helped us, I have to say,” admitted Team Principal Latvala when questioned about Super Sunday.

“All the drivers did a great job today (Sunday). I am really glad with what we did, especially taking the Wolf Power Stage 1-2.

“Elfyn was the fastest over the whole day so these points for the Manufacturers’ championship are really helping.”

Welshman Evans locked in 13 points which he had provisionally gained by completing Saturday third overall, before collecting seven more for being Sunday’s fastest driver, as well as going second-quickest on the Wolf Power Stage to complete his haul with four further points.

In addition to providing a major boost for his team in the Manufacturers’ Standings, Evans will start next month’s Safari Rally Kenya (28-31 March) second on the road – and just three points down on championship leader Thierry Neuville.

“It was not the result we wanted, but it is not a disaster,” reflected Latvala. “I am satisfied with what we have done on Sunday. Friday and Saturday we need to improve for Kenya.”