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Tue 21 May 2024

Latvala to chase rally wins again

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala is hoping to contest next year’s FIA European Historic Rally Championship at the wheel of a Celica Turbo 4WD.

The 18-time world rally winner finished with full-time competition at the end of the 2019 season, but remains the WRC’s most experienced campaigner with 210 starts. Since taking over as Toyota’s team principal at the top of the 2021 season, the Finn hasn’t been beaten to a manufacturers’ or drivers’ title.

But now he feels he’s ready to chase more silverware of his own.

“My main focus is, of course, to the team principal job of Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said Latvala. “But I always said I wanted to continue to drive, to use the historic cars. For a while I have been thinking to the European Historic Championship and now it looks like we can make it happen.

“We have to wait for the decision on the regulations to find out when the [Celica] will be allowed to compete – hopefully it’s next season, but if not it can be the year after. We are waiting.”

Latvala rolled one of his Celicas on the Tuuri Ralli earlier this season. He’s now building a new car for his European effort.

“We have built a Group A car,” he said. “It should be a bit lighter and a bit more competitive than the old car, which was more of a Group N chassis.”

Latvala is no stranger to historic competition, having won the Lahti Historic Rally, Finland’s round, seven times.